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HISTORY

According to the 1 Oct 1914 Movie Pictorial, comic opera star Raymond Hitchcock and his wife, actress Flora Zabelle, had previously declined several offers from Lawrence McCloskey, a scenarist for the Lubin Mfg Co., to co-star in a feature film. Hitchcock initially offered to recreate one of his stage triumphs for the screen, but McCloskey insisted on writing an original story for the couple, and ultimately convinced them with his outline for The Ringtailed Rhinoceros, completed over the course of a week. The titular animal was a metaphor for alcoholism. Hitchcock and Zabelle loaned their Belle Monde estate in Long Island, NY, to the production, along with one of their pet macaw, which appeared onscreen as “The Counselor Bird.” Background actors were hired from among the couple’s wealthy neighbors.
       Principal photography started during the summer of 1914, as indicated by an item in the 25 Jul 1914 Motography, which stated that George Terwilliger had just returned from shooting a “photophantasy” in St. Augustine, FL, with a troupe of players that included Hitchcock and Zabelle. Lubin advertised the upcoming release in the 29 Aug 1914 Motography, hailing Hitchcock as “The Funniest Man on the Stage,” but apparently the company had yet to settle upon a title.
       The Ringtailed Rhinoceros opened on 30 Aug 1915. Although the film garnered a positive review in the 28 Aug 1915 Motion Picture News, critic Harvey F. Thew was somewhat frustrated by watching Hitchcock in a silent drama, wishing he could hear the actor’s clever delivery of dialog. The title appeared as both ...

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According to the 1 Oct 1914 Movie Pictorial, comic opera star Raymond Hitchcock and his wife, actress Flora Zabelle, had previously declined several offers from Lawrence McCloskey, a scenarist for the Lubin Mfg Co., to co-star in a feature film. Hitchcock initially offered to recreate one of his stage triumphs for the screen, but McCloskey insisted on writing an original story for the couple, and ultimately convinced them with his outline for The Ringtailed Rhinoceros, completed over the course of a week. The titular animal was a metaphor for alcoholism. Hitchcock and Zabelle loaned their Belle Monde estate in Long Island, NY, to the production, along with one of their pet macaw, which appeared onscreen as “The Counselor Bird.” Background actors were hired from among the couple’s wealthy neighbors.
       Principal photography started during the summer of 1914, as indicated by an item in the 25 Jul 1914 Motography, which stated that George Terwilliger had just returned from shooting a “photophantasy” in St. Augustine, FL, with a troupe of players that included Hitchcock and Zabelle. Lubin advertised the upcoming release in the 29 Aug 1914 Motography, hailing Hitchcock as “The Funniest Man on the Stage,” but apparently the company had yet to settle upon a title.
       The Ringtailed Rhinoceros opened on 30 Aug 1915. Although the film garnered a positive review in the 28 Aug 1915 Motion Picture News, critic Harvey F. Thew was somewhat frustrated by watching Hitchcock in a silent drama, wishing he could hear the actor’s clever delivery of dialog. The title appeared as both The Ring-Tailed Rhinoceros and The Ring Tailed Rhinoceros in the 14 Aug 1915 issue.
       The film was reissued the following year as a two-reel short comedy, as stated in the 15 Apr 1916 Motion Picture News.

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GEOGRAPHIC LOCATIONS
SOURCE CITATIONS
SOURCE
DATE
PAGE
Motion Picture
Oct 1915
p. 127
Motion Picture News
14 Aug 1915
p. 46
Motion Picture News
28 Aug 1915
pp. 72-73
Motion Picture News
9 Oct 1915
p. 122
Motion Picture News
15 Apr 1916
p. 2203
Motography
25 Jul 1914
p. 124
Motography
29 Aug 1914
p. 15
Motography
14 Aug 1915
p. 315
Motography
28 Aug 1915
pp. 421-22, 440
Movie Pictorial
1 Oct 1914
pp. 20-21
Moving Picture World
21 Aug 1915
p. 1398
Moving Picture World
28 Aug 1915
p. 1490
Moving Picture World
13 Nov 1915
p. 1358
NYDM
18 Aug 1915
p. 29
Variety
21 Aug 1914
p. 19
DETAILS
Alternate Titles:
The Ring Tailed Rhinoceros
The Ring-Tailed Rhinoceros
Release Date:
30 August 1915
Production Date:
summer 1914
Copyright Info
Claimant
Date
Copyright Number
Lubin Mfg. Co.
10 August 1915
LP6062
Physical Properties:
Silent
Black and White
Length(in reels):
4
Country:
United States
Language:
English
SYNOPSIS

Drunkard John Carter-Carter arrives late and intoxicated at a lawn party where he is to announce his engagement to Marybelle Loring. Her outraged father prohibits John from marrying Marybelle until he achieves sobriety. When Marybelle's little brother, Billie, asks why she is sad, John places the blames on a "ringtailed rhinoceros." Later that night, John dreams that he is aboard a pirate ship, where the rhinoceros leads him to the captain's rum. After John is caught by the captain and ordered to walk the plank, he floats to an island where a little prince named "Good Intent" takes him to the weeping princess, who must cry until the ringtailed rhinoceros is slain. John begins the hunt with "Resolution," an eight-legged horse, but he is waylaid by the rhinoceros, who persuades him to spend every night drinking in the king's wine cellar. When the beast and his cohorts attack the castle, John kills the rhinoceros with a wine bottle. The princess stops crying and embraces John, who awakens to report that the ringtailed rhinoceros is ...

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Drunkard John Carter-Carter arrives late and intoxicated at a lawn party where he is to announce his engagement to Marybelle Loring. Her outraged father prohibits John from marrying Marybelle until he achieves sobriety. When Marybelle's little brother, Billie, asks why she is sad, John places the blames on a "ringtailed rhinoceros." Later that night, John dreams that he is aboard a pirate ship, where the rhinoceros leads him to the captain's rum. After John is caught by the captain and ordered to walk the plank, he floats to an island where a little prince named "Good Intent" takes him to the weeping princess, who must cry until the ringtailed rhinoceros is slain. John begins the hunt with "Resolution," an eight-legged horse, but he is waylaid by the rhinoceros, who persuades him to spend every night drinking in the king's wine cellar. When the beast and his cohorts attack the castle, John kills the rhinoceros with a wine bottle. The princess stops crying and embraces John, who awakens to report that the ringtailed rhinoceros is dead.

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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.