Reel Culver City Winter 2007

REEL CULVER CITY

by: Marc Wanamaker

THOMAS INCE FIRE PREVENTION FILM BRINGS ATTENTION TO CULVER CITY

Culver City film pioneer Thomas H. Ince was made an honorary Coast Fire Chief by the City of Los Angeles. Ince received this distinction by producing a fire prevention film at the Thomas Ince Studios and received a ecial badge for his efforts.

Ince had been honored over the years for his fire prevention efforts on behalf of the motion picture industry in the Los Angeles area. As early as 1913, Ince had personally led a brigade of actors and studio employees to fight a fire around Santa Ynez Canyon which was then a part of Inceville, Ince’s then studio, at what is now Sunset Boulevard and Pacific Coast Highway. The Mayor of Santa Monica personally commended his efforts.

CULVER CITY STUDIO HAS FIRE-FIGHTING FACILITIES

When Ince opened his new studio on Washington Boulevard in 1919 – complete with a visit by the King and Queen of Belgium – he was already proudly showing off the fire-fighting equipment installed at the studio. A small swimming pool built behind the Colonial administration building also doubled as a water reservoir for fire-fighting. In cooperation with the Culver City Fire Department, the Ince Studio was considered a satellite fire station in the eastern portion of Culver City.

PRESS APPLAUDS INCE STUDIOS

The Moving Picture World magazine in its January 17, 1920 issue, profiled the Ince Fire Prevention film and the honorary ceremony, with the headline: “Ince Fire Prevention Film Wins Him Honor of Chief.” It further stated: “Motion pictures have been a source of entertainment for a number of years, but it is only recently that they have come into their own in a practical way, for the benefit of all, and a great stride forward along this line was made by Thomas H. Ince, when he produced a picture depicting methods of fire prevention.

Mr. Ince turned the studio equipment to the task of turning out this film, and then presented it to the Fire Prevention Bureau of the Pacific, which has shown it all over the west, before Rotary Clubs, Chambers of Commerce, Boy Scouts, schools, women’s clubs and other organizations.

INCE HONORED BY CHIEFS ASSOC.

The ceremony was held in January of 1920 on the steps of the new Thomas H. Ince Studios’ administration building with Los Angeles and Culver City Fire Department officers in attendance. The Mayor of Los Angeles Snyder presented Tom Ince with the Chief badge making him an honorary Coast Fire Chief on behalf of the Pacific Coast Fire Chiefs Association.”

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