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100 years ago in Spokane: Hollywood direct, Spokane vocal teacher under contract at Minnehaha

Nov. 15, 2021 Updated Thu., Nov. 18, 2021 at 8:37 a.m.

Marion De La Perelle promised to make more sophisticated comedies than his slapstick roots under contract with Pan-American Film Co. in Minnehaha on Nov. 15, 1921.  (S-R archives)
Marion De La Perelle promised to make more sophisticated comedies than his slapstick roots under contract with Pan-American Film Co. in Minnehaha on Nov. 15, 1921. (S-R archives)
By Jim Kershner The Spokesman-Review

A former Hollywood film director turned Spokane vocal teacher, Marion De La Perelle, was now under contract to direct comedies for Spokane’s Pan-American Film Co. at Minnehaha.

The president of the company touted De La Parelle’s Hollywood credentials, saying that he had directed many silent movie stars, including Zasu Pitts, Robert Gordon and King Vidor. Before coming to Spokane, he had worked several years for Hollywood’s Keystone Comedies, famous for its slapstick Keystone Kops comedies.

De La Parelle, however, said he was now aiming for a higher brand of comedy.

“Our comedies will be of the type produced by Harold Lloyd, all of them clean and not of the slapstick variety,” he said.

Lloyd had become famous for a more sophisticated brand of silent movie comedy.

De La Parelle’s first Spokane-made comedy, “Helping a Relative,” was already being filmed. The Pan-American Film Co. had arisen from the ashes of the several failed movie studios at the Minnehaha site.

From the murder beat: The mystery surrounding the death of Montana cattleman William Moody Wry deepened after Canadian authorities reported that Wry had been alone when he departed from Moose Jaw for Spokane. Police had been working on the theory that he had arrived in Spokane with a traveling companion, who had then murdered him in the woods near Garden Springs.

That theory was now shot down, and detectives said that the “mystery became still harder to solve.”

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