Cap'n Eri

Cap'n Eri


Illustration of Cap'n Eri from the 1904 novel
"Cap'n Eri." (Illusration from the 1904 novel).

Conimicut, Warwick, was the setting for this Eastern Film Corporation production, based on the 1904 novel Cap'n Eri: A Story of the Coast by Cape Cod writer Joseph C. Lincoln, and directed by George A. Lessey.

The novel tells the story of three retired sea captains living together in the fictional Cape Cod town of Orham. Realizing that none of them are very good housekeepers, they determine that one of them will have to get married, and so they advertise for a wife. Events proceed from there. Wanna read the novel? Find it for free on the Project Gutenberg website.

In December of 1914, the Eastern Film Corporation was founded by Frederick Peck of Barrington. The Corporation's headquarters, located at 1-17 McKinley Street in the "Old Park Brewery" buildings, bordering Roger Williams Park and Elmwood Avenue, was the place where some of our nation's first silent pictures were filmed. Shooting began in the spring of 1915 and continued through late fall with a company of over eighty actors, directors and technicians. When winter approached, the company moved to Florida, and, for financial reasons, never returned.

But during that year, at least thirteen films were made. Comedies, westerns, series, features, documentaries and war films were produced there, with titles such as The Man Who Looks Like Me, The Labor Day Parade (newsreel footage of the 1915 event in Providence), Nora Declares War, and A Christmas Story.

Filming continued at those studios through 1919 by companies leasing Eastern's space. [They included] the Amber Star Film Corporation, Harry Myers and Rosemary Theby (who later worked for Universal Studios in New York), the Burns Brothers, General Film Company, and a company with no known name, which produced The Wives Union, a comedy.

—From the Providence Film Commission's "Film History in Providence."

The September 29, 1915, issue of The Moving Picture World reported that Eastern had, the previous week, constructed a whole house at Conimicut, at a cost of $500, only to set it on fire. "A battery of four cameras was trained on the structure, and after several preliminary scenes had been made, gasoline and oll was poured over the entire structure and with the blaze at its height, George Bunny, brother of the late John; William Mandeville and Herbert Bostwick, the three principal characters in 'Cap'n Eri,' entered the bulling and enacted their parts."

Screenshot of burning house
(Screenshot, The Moving Picture World, September 25, 1915).

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