The Dangers of Filmmaking - Lubin Studio Photo Albums

By The History Detectives Team
25 August 2009
Category: Viewer Mailbag

To say the films were destroyed by a fire at Betzwood, (by the route 422 Betzwood Bridge) was a bit of an understatement. One of the reasons for the move from Philadelphia to Montgomery county was to create a safer site for the flammable cellulose film. I'm told that as it ages and disintegrates the goo you sometimes find in the film can is very close in chemistry to Nitroglycerine.

What happened to the Lubin films was a large and loud explosion in the vault that was heard for some distance. It was a little more spectacular than a simple fire.

As to other films made in Pennsylvania, the serial The Perils of Pauline,was made in Bucks County as well as New Jersey. It invented a couple of movie cliches around New Hope. Pauline, one of the Gish sisters I believe, was tied to the tracks on a trestle of what's now the New Hope and Ivyland Railroad in New Hope. In one episode Pauline is fleeing the villain jumping across moving ice chunks narrowly missing going over the dam on the Delaware River at New Hope. There were no stunt doubles or studio shots by the way.

Scott B.

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