Judge Willis Brown

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Judge Willis Brown (July 31, 1881 – October 20, 1931) was a permananently removed Utah juvenile court judge,[1] falsely-claimed-lawyer,[2] self-described humanitarian, and film-maker.

Born James Willhenry Brown in Columbus, Indiana to James W. Brown and Lucetta Pierson.

Boy City Film Company[edit]

In the decade of the 1900s Brown lectured[3] on the Chautauqua circuit as a judge of the Utah Juvenile Court and a progressive expert on boys' reformation.[4][5][6][7][8][9][10][11][12][13][14][15][16][17][18][19][20][21][22] Building a national reputation, in the 1910s he started "Boy Cities" in Charlevoix, Michigan, and Gary, Indiana,[23][24][25][26] then relocated to Southern California. (The better-known Boys Town, Nebraska was founded in December, 1917.)

By 1917 Brown founded the Boy City Film Company in Culver City, part film studio, part homeless shelter.

In film history, Brown is remarkable for giving director King Vidor his first directing job. Brown funded a series of twenty two-reelers, both moral lessons and promotional films. Brown appeared as himself in all but the first one; Vidor directed at least ten[11] of them. These films have evidence of "fascinating social content" - the plot of the second entry, The Chocolate of the Gang, deals with a black child being denied membership in an all-white club, and employed black actors for the lead roles as opposed to the usual practice of white performers in blackface.[11]

He was appointed to the Juvenile Court in Salt Lake City in the spring of 1905, served two years, but had been permanently removed by the Utah Supreme Court.[2] In 1910, the Juvenile Court debunked Judge Brown's credentials.[1] Brown was, in fact, not even a lawyer, and had been misrepresenting himself.

According to Variety, Brown was shot to death in Columbus Ohio in 1931 by "a jealous widow".[27][28]

Film series[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b The Juvenile court record, Volumes 9-12 By Timothy David Hurley, February 1910 issue, page 5, "As to Judge Willis Brown")
  2. ^ a b The Pacific reporter, Volume 88, Utah Supreme Court decision Mill v. Brown, January 17, 1907
  3. ^ "Judge Willis Brown :: Traveling Culture - Circuit Chautauqua in the Twentieth Century". digital.lib.uiowa.edu. 
  4. ^ Hobey, Jack (12 December 2017). "Lost Boys: The Beulah Home Tragedy". Harbor House Publishers Inc – via Google Books. 
  5. ^ "Healdsburg Tribune, Enterprise and Scimitar 26 August 1915 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". cdnc.ucr.edu. 
  6. ^ Slide, Anthony (25 February 2014). "The New Historical Dictionary of the American Film Industry". Routledge – via Google Books. 
  7. ^ "Healdsburg Tribune, Enterprise and Scimitar 4 November 1915 — California Digital Newspaper Collection". cdnc.ucr.edu. 
  8. ^ Cohen, Ronald D. (1 May 2014). "Children of the Mill: Schooling and Society in Gary, Indiana, 1906-1960". Routledge – via Google Books. 
  9. ^ "The National Bulletin". National Conference of Charities and Correction. 12 December 2017 – via Google Books. 
  10. ^ "Bulletin". 12 December 2017 – via Google Books. 
  11. ^ a b c Durgnat, Raymond; Simmon, Scott (12 December 1988). "King Vidor, American". University of California Press – via Google Books. 
  12. ^ Edwards, Paul M. (28 March 2016). "World War I on Film: English Language Releases through 2014". McFarland – via Google Books. 
  13. ^ http://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov/lccn/sn86061215/1915-12-28/ed-1/seq-3.pdf
  14. ^ "Ottumwa tri-weekly courier" – via chroniclingamerica.loc.gov. 
  15. ^ "Evansville Press from Evansville, Indiana on August 9, 1910 · Page 3". 
  16. ^ "SRP Fall-Winter 1983-1984 - Boca Raton Historical Society" (PDF). bocahistory.org. 
  17. ^ "Reno Evening Gazette Newspaper Archives, May 20, 1916". 20 May 1916. 
  18. ^ "Chicago Examiner Vol. 10 no. 129 :: Chicago Examiner 1908-1918". digital.chipublib.org. 
  19. ^ Library, University of Oregon, Knight. "The Sunday Oregonian. (Portland, Ore.) 1881-current, January 28, 1912, Image 13 « Historic Oregon Newspapers". oregonnews.uoregon.edu. 
  20. ^ "The Motion Picture Story Magazine (Feb-Jul 1911)". The Motion Picture Story Publishing Co. 1 February 1911 – via Internet Archive. 
  21. ^ http://lowellledger.kdl.org/The%20Lowell%20Ledger/1909/08_August/08-05-1909.pdf
  22. ^ http://www.iapsop.com/archive/materials/theosophic_messenger_all/messenger_v7_n7_december_1919.pdf
  23. ^ Brownlow, Kevin (12 December 1990). "Behind the mask of innocence". Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group – via Google Books. 
  24. ^ Brownlow, Kevin (12 December 1990). "Behind the Mask of Innocence". Knopf – via Google Books. 
  25. ^ Powers, John (23 December 1990). "SILENT WITNESSES : BEHIND THE MASK OF INNOCENCE; Films of Social Conscience in the Silent Era By Kevin Brownlow (Alfred A. Knopf: $50; 511 pp., illustrated)" – via LA Times. 
  26. ^ Kevin Brownlow, Behind the Mask of Innocence. New York: Knopf, 1990
  27. ^ Silent film necrology, Eugene Michael Vazzana, page 66
  28. ^ Vazzana, Eugene Michael (1 May 1995). "Silent film necrology: births and deaths of over 9000 performers, directors, producers, and other filmmakers of the silent era, through 1993". McFarland – via Google Books. 
  29. ^ Edwards, Paul M. (31 March 2016). "World War I on Film: English Language Releases through 2014". McFarland – via Google Books. 
  30. ^ "The Boy City". 31 December 1910 – via www.imdb.com. 
  31. ^ "Lyceumite & Talent". Lyceum Magazine. 12 December 2017 – via Google Books. 
  32. ^ "Bud's Recruit (1918)". www.filmpreservation.org. 
  33. ^ "Bud's Recruit: A Judge Brown Story (1917) American B&W : Two reels / 1865 feet Directed by King W. Vidor". www.silentera.com. 
  34. ^ "Chocolate of the Gang · (Early Cinema History Online)". echo.commarts.wisc.edu. 
  35. ^ "Dramatic Mirror of Motion Pictures and the Stage". Dramatic Mirror Company. 12 December 2017 – via Google Books. 
  36. ^ "Thief or Angel? · (Early Cinema History Online)". echo.commarts.wisc.edu. 
  37. ^ "The Case Of Bennie - Fiche+technique - La base de connaissances française". savoiro.fr.