The George Eastman House has recently completed the preservation on THE OLD FOLKS AT HOME (Fine Arts Film Co., 1916.) Directed by Chester Withey and starring Sir Herbert Beerbohm Tree, Josephine Crowell, Elmer Clifton, and Mildred Harris [aka Mrs. Charles Chaplin], it is the story of the rural Coburn family, living a simple, yet happy, life on the homestead. While John runs a modest campaign for state senator, his wife keeps their home and son in loving comfort.
When the votes are counted, the family is thrilled to learn that Mr. Coburn has been elected!
Years pass, and we see the family in a new environment. John is now running the state, and has little time for his former life. Still, they go back to the homestead once a year, and try to stay in touch with their son, Stevie, who has turned to gambling and a scandalous woman. Stevie becomes involved in a murder, and mother and father must make a difficult decision-help their son, or have him face the consequences with the state.
The foundation for this preservation was a nitrate print brought to Eastman House in 2003 by Ted Larson and Harold “Rusty” Casselton. These beloved film professors, historians, and film collectors were internationally known and respected restorers of rare and silent films. Both collectors have passed on but will always be remembered for their enthusiasm and knowledge of film. Ted and Rusty, on their way to Cinefest in Syracuse, NY, would visit Eastman House and talk to students of the Selznick School about film collecting and how they fell in love with cinema. Over the years, the warm relationship with Ted and Rusty and the motion picture department evolved and an agreement was reached for some of their rare nitrate prints to be conserved at Eastman House.
Although neither Ted nor Rusty survived to see the preservation of this film, the Eastman House is proud to carry on their work: to preserve, show and to inspire a love of film. (Preservation funded by the National Endowment of the Arts.)
Deborah Stoiber is the Nitrate Vault Manager at The Louis B. Mayer Conservation Center. She graduated from The L. Jeffrey Selznick School in 1998. After graduation, she spent time at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, NY working on their 16mm collection.
One Response to “In Appreciation of Film Collectors: Ted Larson and Harold ‘Rusty’ Casselton”