Film Folk (Rob Wagner, 1918)

I’m uncertain whether to call this book fiction or nonfiction. It’s a collection of anecdotes about filmmaking in the silent era written in narrative form from the perspective of a star, an extra, a director, a writer, and a publicist. The names and places are admittedly fictionalized, but often only just. It takes very little to connect the book’s “Jackson X. Kerriman” to the real Jack W. Kerrigan, for example. The studios as well — there are fairly transparent references to shooting jungle adventures at Selig or slapstick comedies at Keystone. I imagine the stories are punched-up, so to speak, and reimagined as though they were all coming from the same source, but that they’re ultimately based in somebody’s real experiences.

Inscription: Pasted on the inside front cover is a plate that reads “Brainerd Memorial Library, Haddam, Connecticut, No. 114, July 17, 1918”. Beneath it is carefully written “In memory of Martha E. Brainerd”.

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