Saturday, March 21, 2009

Come ride with me . . .

Today is the birthday of Max Aronson (March 21, 1880 – January 20, 1971), American actor, writer, director, and producer. He is best known by his stage name, Gilbert "Broncho Billy" Anderson and as the first star of the Western film genre.

n 1907, Anderson and George Kirke Spoor founded, Essanay Studios, one of the predominant early movie studios. He directed and starred in over 300 Broncho Billy films over a seven year period for the studio. Essanay Studios is best known for its series of Charlie Chaplin comedies in 1915. Gilbert "Broncho Billy" Anderson was a key figure in the development of American films as entertainment.

Max Aronson/Gilbert Anderson "Broncho Billy" was presented with an Academy Honorary Award in 1958 as a "motion picture pioneer, for his contributions to the development of motion pictures as entertainment."

Gilbert "Broncho Billy" Anderson was honored in 1998 with his image on a U.S. postage stamp. In 2002, he was inducted into the Western Performers Hall of Fame at the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. For the past nine years, Niles (now part of Fremont), California, site of the western Essanay Studios, has held an annual "Broncho Billy Silent Film Festival." Gilbert "Broncho Billy" Anderson has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1651 Vine Street in Hollywood.

Trivia bit: When he showed up at the Oscars in 1958 to accept a special Academy award for his early work in silent films, everybody was surprised to discover he was still alive.
P.S. He was a "cowboy" that could not ride a horse.

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