Saturday, December 19, 2009

Jean, The Vitagraph Dog

Jean, the Vitagraph Dog was a dog actor that performed title roles in early silent films.

Around 1907, Maine resident and aspiring writer Laurence Trimble moved to New York City with his dog, Jean.

Laurence Trimble sold an article to a local magazine which paved the way for the two of them to visit Vitagraph Studios to do a story on film making.

Laurence Trimble and his dog Jean just happened to be on the set at a time when the company needed a dog to play opposite Florence Turner ("the Vitagraph Girl").

A star was born, Jean and her owner were asked to stay and both became members of the Vitagraph stock company.

Jean became quite popular and was soon known as "the Vitagraph Dog", starring in her own films along with "the Vitagraph Girl" all directed by Larry Trimble.

By 1910, Laurence Trimble became Florence Turner's exclusive director and continued to make films with his lucky dog, Jean, until 1913, when Trimble, Turner, and Jean left Vitagraph and started up Turner Films, Ltd. in England.

World War I interrupted most of their work and, in 1916, Trimble returned to the states. Jean died later that year.

Jean made her movie debut in Jean and the Calico Doll (1910).

Between 1910 and 1912, she starred in sixteen more films. Her films were Jean, the Matchmaker (1910), Jean Goes Foraging (1910), Jean Goes Fishing (1910), A Tin-Type Romance (1910), Jean and the Waif (1910), Where the Winds Blow (1910), Jean Rescues (1911), When the Light Waned (1911), The Stumbling Block (1911), Tested by the Flag (1911), Auld Lang Syne (1911), Jean Intervenes (1912), Playmates (1912), The Church Across the Way (1912), Bachelor Buttons (1912), and The Signal of Distress (1912).

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