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Thursday, October 17, 2019  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Spokane

100 years ago in Spokane: On set, a glimpse behind the silver screen

 (Nathanael Massey / The Spokesman-Review)
(Nathanael Massey / The Spokesman-Review)

Reporter Hannah Hinsdale spent the day and evening at the Washington Motion Picture Co. studios at Minnehaha and discovered how movies are made.

She learned that moviemaking was a complex enterprise, involving “infinite care and patience” and the carefully orchestrated cooperation of dozens of people. In other words, it was not too different from today, minus the sound equipment.

“The electricians were busy,” she said. “Lone Star Dietz (actor and former football coach) was helping with properties. Harry Hyde was everywhere, bringing out forgotten things. Miss Gibson, who keeps books on the numbers and arrangements of the scenes, was there with a mysterious black book wherein she wrote cabalistic shorthand characters. Mrs. Jane Murfin, the playwright, sat knitting, true to her dark blue color scheme, a navy blue sweater. Sarah Truax was severely rustic in a print dress of the vintage of the late ’80s … There were two or three electricians and cameramen about and the whole battery of lights.”

Presiding over the whole enterprise was director Larry Trimble.

“Everywhere was Mr. Trimble,” Hinsdale wrote. “He showed ‘mother’ how to hold Miss Turner when she told of her husband’s death. He showed Miss Turner how to look when she was surprised. He was old and young afflicted and busybody, if necessary, to get his vision into the range of the two cameras that clicked when he gave the signal.”

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