The Thomas Dixon Studios – Hollywood

Screen Shot 2014-10-04 at 9.04.13 AMI have just recently learned that novelist, minister, lecturer, and all-around swell egg Thomas Dixon, Jr. threw his hat in the movie business ring early in the 20th century. You will most likely  remember Dixon from some of his overly sentimentalized and virulently racist depictions of the old South, the Civil War, and Reconstruction in such novels as The Leopard’s Spots and The Clansman. Well, D. W. Griffith’s film adaptation of these books – The Birth of a Nation – was so immeasurably popular (and simultaneously controversial) when it debuted in 1915 that Dixon thought he might cash in on the film’s success and make some movies of his own.

This was news to me. But it turns Dixon set up shop down the street from my house. Yes indeed friends, I drive by the former location of the Dixon Studios, Hollywood nearly every day. Located at Sunset Blvd and Western Ave, the lot was only a matter of a few blocks from from where Griffith shot much of Birth, and thus a few blocks (in the other direction) from the future location of the Harristorian Archives.

Dixon was a largely unsuccessful in the “business” as we call it here in Hollywood. In 1916, he directed The Fall of a Nation (hmmm….) that warned against pacifism, and several others based on his novels. His production company eventually went bust, and he moved on to other endeavors in 1926.

These days there are no traces of the former studio – just some East Hollywood sprawl. But if anyone out there has some images that they would like to share – send them on.

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Sunset and Western this morning – site of a future Target and a discount shoe store. Not much to get excited about.

With compliments,

Keith

Flag THIS

Screen Shot 2014-10-02 at 8.54.36 AMWell, I learned from reading Kevin Levin’s blog this morning that the good people of South Carolina may no longer have the Rebel battle flag represented among the national and state colors flying over their statehouse. Now if you have been following the flagger/flaggie/flagist news you will most likely note that this will be quite the blow to the “heritage” crowd.

I for one am glad to see it go. If only because it offends a significant portion of the Palmetto State’s population and thus should not be included in a public setting. Your thoughts are welcome.

With compliments,

Keith

Citizenship in a Republic

Screen Shot 2014-10-01 at 9.21.27 AMI’m not generally one to moon over motivational quotes, uplifting “you can do it!!” memes, or any of their ilk. But I came across this excerpt from a speech delivered by Teddy Roosevelt at the Sarbonne in Paris on April 23, 1910 called Citizenship in a Republic, and it has sort of stuck with me today. It’s a thirty-five page speech that really strikes a chord on page seven…and makes TR seem all the Bull Moosier. I think I shall memorize the short passage…and dust it off whenever I hear anyone (including….um….myself) complain about how the other guy is holding them back:

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

If anything, maybe I will just start reciting this aloud in public places…and if I do not get arrested for disturbing the peace, I might inspire someone, with TR’s help, of course.

With compliments,

Keith