Griffith’s Virtues – Billy Bitzer (His Story) 1973
Griffith’s Virtues – Billy Bitzer (His Story) 1973
Billy Bitzer; his story
It occurs to me that perhaps a brief outline, somewhat personal, of D. W. Griffith as I knew him in my sixteen years of association might bring out some facets of his real personality, instead of the glorified descriptions handed out by press agents. Nothing I have read even does justice to his personal traits of character.
Giving was one of his deepest virtues. Not only would he give the applicant the first bill he extracted from his pocket, but if the case was more than trivial, he would detail one of his assistants to follow up and help someone in trouble. It was not show-off stuff or ego.
His kindly efforts to produce results were incredible. He might chide the one making a mistake in a gentle manner. “What were you thinking of?” he would ask. “You knew we had to have that article here.” Then a full stop, a pause long enough for the error to sink in, which would hurt more than if he had flown into a rage.
Perhaps at most only a half-dozen times did I ever see him in a rage, and like most extremists, he was over it at once.
To prevent outbursts, he would act very quickly. If outsiders on location tried to cause a disturbance, he would walk up and ask them to desist, and if that didn’t stop them, he would reach in his pocket and pay them to get out. I saw many instances where this was abused, and I stubbornly suggested I wouldn’t have paid, only to hear his logical reasoning: “The delay would cost us much more than I paid.”
Once he had made up his mind to get results, whether of portrayal in acting or some photographic effect, he would keep at it from all angles until successful.
Even when handling big situations, such as mob scenes, with things going awry, he would break out in snatches of song, a bit of psychology that seemed to calm the excited performers, causing them to be less tense. His bag of tricks was enormous, and if one trick did not work, he would try another. If you did not possess the ability he was searching for, you weren’t fired, just demoted. He did it by easy stages, until you realized for yourself you didn’t fit and just let yourself out. Although he called his players children, he was a stern parent if crossed. He would allow the one in error to talk to a finish, during which time he would not say a word. Then, “Well, you know better, of course,” after which he would remain silent as a sphinx, leaving you guessing whether you had really won the debate or not.
Photo Gallery – D.W. Griffith and W.G. (Billy) Bitzer
When Mamaroneck Upstaged Hollywood – By Bruce Berman (The New York Times – June 19, 1977) When Mamaroneck Upstaged Hollywood By Bruce Berman The New York Times – June 19, 1977 BACK in the early 1920’s when Mamaroneck was a center of movie‐making, Joseph Rigano was an employee of D.W. Grif fith’s studio at Orienta. “I was atone mason and mechanic,” the energetic 80year‐old said as we toured on foot Edgewater Point, at the top of the Orienta Peninsula. Griffith Studios, Orienta Point, Mamaroneck NY 1921 “After the studio was finally built, Mr. Griffith asked me to stay on as a set builder. Stone fireplaces were my specialty, but I worked on everything from Gothic walls to painted desert backdrops. The actors were almost always friendly, and I was getting $55 a week and drove a $1,200 Buick. What more could a young man desire?” DW Griffith filming team – Mamaroneck NY – Way Down East In those days the area was less the “East Coast Hollywood” than Hollywood was “the West Co
The Movie Magazines and Lillian Gish … The moving Picture World 1914 detail The moving Picture World 1914 The moving Picture World 1914 detail Moving Picture World, November 21, 1914 Her Awakening – Lillian Gish The Angel of Contention Poster The moving Picture World – Mutual Program – A Question of Courage names wrong Lillian Gish And Dorothy The moving Picture World – Mutual Program – The Sisters The Birth of a Nation (David W. Griffith Corp., 1915). Herald2 Sold for Marriage Triangle Plays Program 1916 lillian_gish_photoplay_1917 08 ID Photo Back to Lillian Gish Home page Photoplay, August, 1918 – Dorothy and Lillian Gish in their dressing room Lillian Gish Photoplay August 1918 Lillian Gish Photoplay February 1919 Lillian Gish Photoplay, July, 1919 Back to Lillian Gish Home page Lillian Gish Photoplay October 1920 Orphans of The Storm Prog Herald 1921 Lillian Gish 1921 – The Girl Back Home Motion Picture Classic Magazine (Brewster, 1921) The Lily Maid from Ohio Ph
Lillian Gish Still Favors Long Tresses – By Antoinette Donnelly (Chicago Tribune – 1938) Chicago Tribune – Saturday, April 9, 1938 Page 9 Lillian Gish Still Favors Long Tresses By Antoinette Donnelly We talked backstage recently with Lillian Gish, player of the leading role in one of Broadway’s hits of the season, “Star Wagon”. We found her with her waist-length hair hanging, a sight that gladdens the eye unaccustomed to hair rarely even more than shoulder length. Miss Gish’s hair is a beautiful color, too. A silvery ash blonde that she claims has darkened as this type of hair usually does, but it still is, to us, a beautiful silvery ash tone. We asked Miss Gish how she managed to survive the temptation to cut the long locks, after she admitted never having succumbed once to the urge for short hair. She explained that her hair had been earning her living for her since she was a youngster and that now she has a superstition about cutting it. Incidentally, we had been at a smart hair sho