Aug 11, 2021

Watching Classic Movies Podcast--Andrew A. Erish, Author of Vitagraph: America's First Great Motion Picture Studio

When the movies were new, Vitagraph was the most successful film studio in the world. This was a time where as much as 85% of the population was seeing movies on a regular basis, that number is now less than 10%. Vitagraph’s innovations are numerous and influential to the present day, but the impact of the company has been overlooked in accounts of the time, until now. I spoke with Andrew Erish, author of Col. William N. Selig: The Man Who Invented Hollywood, about his new book Vitagraph: America’s First Great Motion Picture Studio, in which he sets the record straight and tells a fascinating story about the tumultuous birth of American cinema.


The show is also available on SpotifyPocketCastsBreakerStitcher and Radio Public.

Watching Classic Movies podcast is also now available on Apple Podcasts! If you are enjoying the show, please give it a 5-star review.

You can learn more about Andrew’s book at UniversityPress of Kentucky

Eyefilm Museum and The National Film Preservation Foundation stream Vitagraph films for free, in addition to many other fascinating early movies. 

The book of early film criticism we discussed is The Art of the Moving Picture, by Vachal Lindsay. It can be read for free at Project Gutenberg

Recommended films discussed in the episode (titles link to films when available):

Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906) 

Princess Nicotine; or, The Smoke Fairy (1909) 

An Easter Lily (1914) 

Father and Son (1912) 

How States Are Made (1912) 

A Midwinter Night's Dream; or, Little Joe's Luck (1906)

Stay tuned for the finale of my inaugural summer season on Wednesday, August 18! 

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