Investigations

Silent Film Reel

The Case:

A Kentucky man was searching his grandfather’s Ohio attic when he stumbled upon a reel of 35mm nitrate film in a canister marked “Dangerous Hour - Eddie Polo.”

Could this snippet of film be an actual copy of an Eddie Polo silent film? Eddie Polo was a legendary stuntman in the 1920s silent film world, but very few of his films remain.

In its early days, silent film was seen as a transitory production, and movie companies such as Paramount and Universal dumped entire archives into the Pacific Ocean, melted nitrate prints to extract the silver, or used the flammable stock for special effects on their back-lot sets. 

History Detectives ventures to Kentucky and Ohio to determine whether this reel could be one of thousands of silent films once thought to have been lost forever to film history.


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Aired:
Season 4, Episode 6

Detective:
Gwen Wright Location:
Elsemere, Kentucky

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