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HISTORY

Henry Blossom wrote a stage play called Checkers , which was based on his novel. The play, which opened in New York on 28 Sep 1903, was first filmed in 1913 by the All Star Feature Corp. and starred Thomas W. Ross, who also played the lead in the stage production. According to news items, Fox paid Blossom approximately $1,000,000 for the screen rights to the play. Richard Stanton, the director of the 1919 movie, played the part of "Checkers" on the stage eighteen years before the shooting of the film. Blossom, who worked with Stanton during the pre-production period, died before the film's completion. Scenes for the film were shot at the Randolph estate in Lakewood, NJ. (P. S. P. Randolph was a well-known horse owner whose racehorse was used in the film.) Horse race scenes were shot at Belmont Park, NY, Havre de Grace racetrack in Maryland and at the Churchill Downs track in Louisville, Kentucky. Other scenes were taken over Jamaica Bay, Long Island, NY. According to a production news item, Captain Hannon of the New York City police supervised the building of Chinatown sets at the Fox studios in Fort Lee, NJ. Four cameras were used to shoot some scenes, including the blowing up of a train at the Kill von Kull crossing on the Raritan River in northern New Jersey. To coincide with the film's opening, a song called "Checkers," written by Lee Edwards and Edgar Allen, flooded American stores like Woolworth's. Other elaborate promotional gimmicks, including dare-devil aerial stunts, accompanied the film's release. According to news items, supporting actor Charles Fang ... More Less

Henry Blossom wrote a stage play called Checkers , which was based on his novel. The play, which opened in New York on 28 Sep 1903, was first filmed in 1913 by the All Star Feature Corp. and starred Thomas W. Ross, who also played the lead in the stage production. According to news items, Fox paid Blossom approximately $1,000,000 for the screen rights to the play. Richard Stanton, the director of the 1919 movie, played the part of "Checkers" on the stage eighteen years before the shooting of the film. Blossom, who worked with Stanton during the pre-production period, died before the film's completion. Scenes for the film were shot at the Randolph estate in Lakewood, NJ. (P. S. P. Randolph was a well-known horse owner whose racehorse was used in the film.) Horse race scenes were shot at Belmont Park, NY, Havre de Grace racetrack in Maryland and at the Churchill Downs track in Louisville, Kentucky. Other scenes were taken over Jamaica Bay, Long Island, NY. According to a production news item, Captain Hannon of the New York City police supervised the building of Chinatown sets at the Fox studios in Fort Lee, NJ. Four cameras were used to shoot some scenes, including the blowing up of a train at the Kill von Kull crossing on the Raritan River in northern New Jersey. To coincide with the film's opening, a song called "Checkers," written by Lee Edwards and Edgar Allen, flooded American stores like Woolworth's. Other elaborate promotional gimmicks, including dare-devil aerial stunts, accompanied the film's release. According to news items, supporting actor Charles Fang was the first Chinese man to appear in American film. One news item lists Ed Wick as a cast member (probably a misspelling of Ed Sedgwick). Sedgwick played his part of the stable man in blackface. Although modern sources state that the 1938 Fox film Checkers was also based on the Blossom story, the plots of the two films are significantly different. More Less

SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
ETR
26 Apr 19
p. 1581.
ETR
2 Aug 19
p. 717.
ETR
13 Sep 19
pp. 1236-37, 1308
ETR
1 Feb 19
p. 758.
MPN
15 Mar 19
p. 1640.
MPN
29 Mar 19
p. 1957.
MPN
5 Apr 19
p. 2106.
MPN
12 Apr 19
p. 2307.
MPN
21 Jun 19
p. 4182.
MPN
9 Aug 19
p. 1315.
MPW
26 Apr 19
p. 528.
MPW
21 Jun 19
p. 1832.
MPW
2 Aug 19
p. 723.
MPW
9 Aug 19
p. 877.
MPW
27 Dec 19
p. 1158.
New York Times
25 Aug 19
p. 8.
Wid's
3 Aug 19
p. 23.
DETAILS
Release Date:
21 August 1919
Copyright Claimant:
William Fox
Copyright Date:
24 August 1919
Copyright Number:
LP14134
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
7
Country:
United States
Passed by NBR:
No
SYNOPSIS

Race horse enthusiast "Checkers" falls in love with Pert Barlow despite the protests of her father, wealthy Southern Judge Barlow, who had hoped his daughter would marry Arthur Kendall. Checkers enters Pert's horse Remorse in a race in which Kendall's horse is also running. When Kendall, who is interested in Pert mainly for her money, learns of Remorse's speed, he schemes with Alva Romaine to keep the horse away from the track. Kendall plots to have the horse's freight car uncoupled from the train in which he is riding and run off an open drawbridge. The car is set on fire, but Checkers manages to save both the horse and Pert. Checkers and Pert lead Remorse to a hiding place. In an attempt to learn Remorse's hiding place, Pert is abducted in Chinatown and then rescued by Checkers. When Remorse's jockey is injured by Kendall's men, Pert wears the boy's clothes and rides Remorse to victory. Finally, the judge consents to a marriage between Pert and ... +


Race horse enthusiast "Checkers" falls in love with Pert Barlow despite the protests of her father, wealthy Southern Judge Barlow, who had hoped his daughter would marry Arthur Kendall. Checkers enters Pert's horse Remorse in a race in which Kendall's horse is also running. When Kendall, who is interested in Pert mainly for her money, learns of Remorse's speed, he schemes with Alva Romaine to keep the horse away from the track. Kendall plots to have the horse's freight car uncoupled from the train in which he is riding and run off an open drawbridge. The car is set on fire, but Checkers manages to save both the horse and Pert. Checkers and Pert lead Remorse to a hiding place. In an attempt to learn Remorse's hiding place, Pert is abducted in Chinatown and then rescued by Checkers. When Remorse's jockey is injured by Kendall's men, Pert wears the boy's clothes and rides Remorse to victory. Finally, the judge consents to a marriage between Pert and Checkers. +

Legend
Viewed by AFI
Partially Viewed
Offscreen Credit
Name Occurs Before Title
AFI Life Achievement Award

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The American Film Institute is grateful to Sir Paul Getty KBE and the Sir Paul Getty KBE Estate for their dedication to the art of the moving image and their support for the AFI Catalog of Feature Films and without whose support AFI would not have been able to achieve this historical landmark in this epic scholarly endeavor.