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.
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”)
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