Fred J. Balshofer
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|Fred J. Balshofer|
Who's Who in the Film World, 1914
November 2, 1877|
New York City, New York
|Died||June 21, 1969
|Resting place||Hollywood Memorial Park Cemetery|
Born in New York City, Balshofer became interested in the photography business at an early age and eventually worked as a stereoscopic-slide photographer. Drawn to the fledgling motion picture business, from 1905 to 1908 he worked at Lubin Studios in Philadelphia.
Hired by Adam Kessel of the New York Motion Picture Company, in 1909 Fred Balshofer directed his first film called "Disinherited Son's Loyalty" on which he also served as cinematographer. That same year he directed Davy Crockett – In Hearts United, believed to be the first Davy Crockett movie ever made. Filming at the time centered mainly around facilities and locations in the Fort Lee, New Jersey area but within a few years Balshofer moved to the West Coast as General Manager of the New York Motion Picture Company, directing western films for their subsidiary, Bison Motion Pictures until Thomas H. Ince joined the studio. By 1916, Balshofer had left Kessel's operation to become president and general manager of the Yorke-Metro studios at 1329 Gordon St. in Hollywood. In the 1920s, he produced and directed films for his own production company.
During his career, Fred Balshofer produced and/or directed more than eighty silent films then, after an unsuccessful attempt at age fifty directing a Spanish language talkie, he spent the better part of his remaining career working as a studio executive. In 1967 he teamed up with friend and acclaimed cinematographer Arthur C. Miller to write a significant book on the film industry under the title "One Reel a Week." Published by the University of California Press, the book chronicled the early history of the motion picture industry, including the shift in location and facilities from the East Coast to Southern California and the rise of the western film genre.