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Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum

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Acquires and preserves artifacts and history of filmmaking in Niles. Shows silent and early era films with live piano accompaniment in a reopened Nickelodeon theater each Saturday night at 7:30 p.m.  Suggested Donation: $5.00.  Popcorn, sodas, candy and ice cream available at our snack bar.

Our building is the old Edison theater, which opened in 1913 and continued until 1923 when a larger theater was built next door and was used until it burned down in 1959. The Edison Theater subsequently became a dance hall, warehouse, and photo studio - and all of the businesses that have occupied the building since 1923 left intact the original floor, projection room, and many other features.

THE REASON WHY NILES WAS IMPORTANT: Having a silent film studio made Niles special but it wasn’t like this was the only one. There were many silent film studios in the United States and several in the Bay Area - sometimes they were in tents or barns- but in Niles, we had the Essanay Film Manufacturing Company. The studios built on what would become Niles Blvd. was one of the very first to be built specifically as a film studio, not adapted from another already established building, on the entire west coast. It was almost preceeded by a studio from the Miles brothers in San Francisco, but the '06 earthquake took it out just before completion.

A Special weekend of International Silent Films Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum November 2nd, 3rd & 4th,  2007

Friday, November 2, 2007, 8:00 pm - Suggested Donation
$7.00 - With Greg Pane at the piano
Feature: The Italian Straw Hat 1927, directed by Rene
Clair, Comedy
On his way to his wedding, the groom’s horse eats the
hat of a lady, who demands to have it replaced.
Shorts: Blood and Bosh – 1913, directed by Hay Plumb,
The beneficiary of a will, (a baby), is kidnapped, and
ends up in a hospital.
The Impossible Voyage - 1905, directed by Georges
Melies, hand-colored with live narration.
A  group of Geographic Society members undertake a
journey through the Alps to the Sun.

Saturday, November 3, 2007
12:00 – 2:15 pm  - Suggested Donation $5.00, With Judy
Rosenberg at the piano
Feature: Berlin Symphony of a Great City 1927,
directed by Walter Ruttman
Short: Drifters - 1927, directed by John Grierson

3:15 – 5:15 pm – Suggested Donation $5.00 - With
Frederick Hodges at the piano
Feature: The Lodger - 1927, directed by Alfred
Short: Ueberfall - 1929,directed by Erno Metzner

7:30 – 9:30 pm - Suggested Donation $5.00 - With Jon
Mirsalis at the piano
Feature: Spies - 1928, directed by Fritz Lang
Short: “German Experimentals” by Eggling, Ritchter
and Walter Ruttman

Sunday, November 4, 2007
1:00 – 3:00 pm - Suggested Donation $5.00 - With Bruce
Loeb at the piano
Feature: Master of the House - 1925, directed by
Carl Theodore Dreyer
Short: A House Divided - 1912, directed by Alice Guy

4:00 – 6:00 pm - Suggested Donation $7.00
With Molly Axtmann at the piano
Feature: Mother - 1926, directed by Vselvod Pudovkin

Shorts: Frogland, 1924, and
The Voice of Nightingale 1925,
both directed by Wladyslaw Starewicz

About the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum:
The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum, Inc. is a
501(c)3 Non-Profit museum dedicated to the acquisition
and historic preservation of artifacts and local
history of film making in Niles and the greater Bay
Area.   The Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum hosts
regular weekly silent film showings at 7:30 PM each
Saturday.  Further details on the Museum, Film
Festivals, Saturday Night @ the Movies and other
events can be found at,
or call 510-494-1411 or 510-796-1940

See Silent Films in the Restored Theater

Come watch silent films each Saturday night.

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Let a Docent Show You Around

You may browse on your own, or let one of our informed docents show you the ropes.

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Learn why being a projectionist was hazardious

Early films were in essence nitro based bombs that regularly flaired up. See our original tin lined projection booth including escape hatch.

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Which came first, the film or the book?

In the early years, films often proceed books derived from them.

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Visit the Museum

We have a museum of early film lore.

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Special Events
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Committee & Volunteers
Dorothy Bradley  Museum President
Elaine Naples  Vice-President
Jennifer Barr-Schneider  Secretary/Museum Store
Karen Cates  Treasurer
Bruce Cates  Senior Technical Advisor
David Kiehn  Author/Film Historian
Rena Dein  Publicity/Press/Media
Nydia Estrada   Special Projects/Membership
Ann Rice   Volunteer Coordinator
Larry Telles  Webmaster

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