Sunday, October 16, 2011


NILES by deanv41
NILES, a photo by deanv41 on Flickr.

A friend, his daughter & i visited Niles, California, in the South Bay at the foothills by Fremont & Union City. It's a place with a rich cultural history -- the first capitol of the silent film era where Charlie Chaplin helped establish the West Coast satellite of Chicago's Essenay Film Studios before Hollywood became Tinsel Town. It's chock-a-block with Antique stores and a great many stories to tell.
Charlie Chalplinalia with Gilbert M. "Brancho Billy" Anderson, America's 1st Cowboy Film Star
The heyday only lasted from 1912 through the early 1920s for this small and intense town but made Movie History and launched the careers of not only Chaplin -- The Tramp was filmed here in 1915 -- but also the first cowboy film star, 'Bronco Billy' Anderson; leading lady Edna Purviance; cinematographer Rollie Totheroh, among many of cinema's first wave of actors and innovative technicians.

The Essenay Silent Film Museum and Cinema stills shows rare films each Saturday night in this petit Entertainment Capitol an railroad terminus where Niles Canyon meets San Francisco Bay.

The Train Station: Niles, California

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