Through Jade's Eyes

This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

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Location: www.suzannearruda.com, United States

I'm the author of the Jade del Cameron historical mystery series set in 1920's Africa. Lots of action, intrigue, mystery and a dash of romance. Follow me at www.twitter.com/SuzanneArruda *The audio link (view complete profile) is an interview by Baron Ron Herron (9/17/2009, Santa Barbara {CA} News-Press Radio, KZSB, AM 1290

Monday, November 09, 2009

1920’s EARLY AFRICAN MOVIES PART 2: WHITE GODDESS AND OUTLAWS

In TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH, Jade del Cameron leads a Hollywood silent film crew to Kilimanjaro to make a motion picture. In last week’s blog, I wrote about an early silent movie filmed, not on Kilimanjaro, but in German occupied Togoland.

The White Goddess of the Wangora was not the only motion picture being filmed by Hans Schomburgk and starring Meg Gehrts. It was too costly an adventure in terms of money, time, and effort to travel into wild African territories for only one picture. In addition, Schomburgk made several documentary films about tribal bead making and daily life. And he filmed Outlaw, another adventure picture.

In Outlaw, a white man is cast out from his companions and “takes to the bush, living as a native amongst the natives.” When he finds a farm settlement, instead of rejoining society, he “prowls” nearby until the farmer’s wife (Meg Gehrts) orders him off. He goes, “cursing and threatening” to “his lair” where he has collected “a lot of black scalliwags” (birds of a feather as it were) and become their chief. This outlaw decides to abduct the woman.
(photo still from White Goddess of the Wangora)
Meg Gehrts writes that this abduction scene caused an accident. She was supposed to struggle and she did so, giving an “more than usually energetic wiggle” while the camera man called out “Capital! Capital! Keep it up! Keep it up!” It seems the villain was supposed to carry Meg in his arms, but he insisted an outlaw would hoist a woman over his shoulder. Meg’s energetic struggle caused the actor to lose his balance, trip over a boulder, and the pair tumbled “on the very brink of the precipice.”
Ms. Gehrts landed less than a foot from the cliff’s edge.

The camera man, true to form, never stopped cranking film and the accident produced a very dramatic bit of footage for the movie. Meg suffered considerable cuts and bruises. What effect did it have on the actor? He soon after “got homesick and gave out that he must return to Europe then and there.”

Meg Gehrts wrote about her experience in a rare book: A CAMERA ACTRESS IN THE WILDS OF TOGOLAND.

Image and quotes taken from M. Gehrts’ A Camera Actress In The Wilds Of Togoland (film still)
NEXT WEEK: More early motion picture lore.
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NOTE: These blogs are meant to give some insight into the life and times of my fictional character, Jade del Cameron. Jade’s mystery adventures take place in post WWI Africa. To date they are: Mark of the Lion, Stalking Ivory, and The Serpent’s Daughter, and The Leopard’s Prey, all available in trade paperback. TREASURE OF THE GOLDEN CHEETAH is available in hardcover. An excerpt and information on pre-ordering signed copies is available at the website: www.suzannearruda.com. Follow short updates on http://twitter.com/SuzanneArruda

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