Lois Weber’s film Where are My Children? (1916) and the history of Abortion in America

When we discuss the topic of the history of abortion and birth control in the United States, where are the mentions of Where are My Children? (Universal Studios, 1916)? 

The movie was Universal’s top grossing film of 1916. It’s estimated to have grossed over $3 million at a time when ticket prices were less than 50¢ each.

Where are My Children? was written, produced, and directed by Lois Weber. The film was ultimately added to the National Film Registry in 1993.

Weber came from a devout middle class Christian family of Pennsylvania German ancestry. She left home & lived in poverty while working as a street-corner evangelist for two years with the evangelical Church Army Workers.

Her work with the Church Army Workers included preaching and singing hymns on street corners and singing and playing the organ in rescue missions in red-light districts in Pittsburgh and New York.

Meyer made the film at the height of her career when she was Universal’s top director. Her work and career was at (or perhaps above) the level of Cecil B. DeMille and D.W. Griffith, though it has largely been minimized subsequently because she was a woman.

Lois Weber was
– 1st woman accepted to Motion Picture Director’s Association, precursor of Director’s Guild
– on 1st directors committee of @TheAcademy
– Mayor of Universal City

Lois Weber was also one of highest paid and most influential directors of her time. She was also amongst the first directors to form her own production company.
en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lois_Weber

The Lost L.A. episode of Dream Factory (@KCET, 2017) covers portions of Weber’s career and provides clips from Where are My Children?
(@nathanmasters‘ entire series here is the real “California’s Gold”)
kcet.org/shows/lost-la/…

In addition to the site above, one can watch the @KCET episode of Lost LA: Dream Factory on YouTube:

I can’t wait to delve further in to the history and work of Weber by reading @StampShelley‘s book Lois Weber in Early Hollywood. University of California Press, May 2015. ISBN 9780520284463
amzn.to/3u7qzrO

Bucket List: Write A Joke for Robin Williams

In all the sadness of the passing of Robin Williams, I nearly forgot I’d “written” a short joke for him just after I’d first moved to Hollywood.

Killing some time just before I started work at Creative Artists Agency, I finagled my way into a rough-cut screening of Robin William’s iconoclastic role in PATCH ADAMS on the Universal Lot. Following the screening, I had the pleasure of chatting with [read: bum-rushed like a crazy fan] Tom Shadyac for a few minutes on the way out. I told him as a recent grad of Johns Hopkins University and having spent a LOT of time in hospitals, that they were missing their obligatory hospital gown joke. But to give it a karate chop (and because I’d just graduated relatively recently), they should put it into the graduation at the “end” and close on a high note.

I didn’t see or hear anything about it until many months later when I went to Mann’s Chinese Theater for the premiere and saw the final cut of the ending of the film, which I’ve clipped below. Just for today, I’m wearing the same red foam clown nose that I wore to the premiere that night.

Thanks for the laughs Robin.

Bucket List:
#1. Write a joke for Robin Williams.

http://youtu.be/kx2FhY_akDY