Historians may have found a thirty-second scrap of film that belongs to a 1923 "lost" silent film ... or not. A PBS show called History Detectives submitted some film found in an attic to the Library of Congress Conservation Center to find out its true origins. The film was in a canister labeled "Dangerous Hour -- Eddie Polo." As I read about this find, I wondered who Eddie Polo was, and what he looked like. The articles I read didn't include any photos, but I found the above image on Picturegoer Online along with another of Polo.

Eddie Polo was a stuntman who became an action-film star during the late 1910s/early 1920s (kind of like Gene Kelly's character in Singin' in the Rain). He starred in serials, notably the Cyclone Smith series. In the 1923 film Dangerous Hour, he played himself, an actor shooting a film who is called to perform a daring rescue. (Now he's starting to sound like Bruce Campbell.) He was one of the many silent-film actors who could not make the transition to sound, and ended up working as a makeup artist on a few sound films. It doesn't appear that any of his movies are available on DVD. In fact, many of them are no longer available at all.

Is Eddie Polo in the film that the Library of Congress analyzed? No one's saying yet. Because the History Detectives episode about the film won't air until later this year, the Library of Congress won't give out the results of their investigation. Blame PBS for the prolonged suspense.

categories Features, Cinematical