Vitagraph Brooklyn Studio

In 1903, when the demand for the Vitagraph product could no longer be satisfied from the roof of a New York City office building, A.E. Smith and J. Stuart Blackton bought land in Brooklyn on which to construct the first of several glass-topped studios (left). Production began in 1905 and was soon highly systematized. Smith and Blackton became “producers” who hired the directors, actors, and other professionals needed to perform the specialized jobs at a motion-picture production firm. By 1908, they employed about 400 actors to play in eight one- and two-reel films per week. The film being shot on the right, Bargain Fiend; or, Shopping à la Mode (1907), featured two actresses who would become among the first motion-picture stars—Florence Lawrence and Florence Turner. A.E. Smith is at the camera.

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