QUESTION: Both The Hazards of Helen and The Perils of Pauline were released in the year 1914. In which month did The Hazards of Helen begin?
As with many of the subjects discussed in the American Treasure Tour blog, The Hazards of Helen could easily take weeks to explore completely. We promise not to dedicate THAT much time to it, but it does merit an exploration. The Helen behind the name was Helen Holmes. Holmes was born in Illinois in 1892 - rumors swirled once she became famous that the location of her birth was somewhere in Illinois, possibly South Bend, a train car owned by her father. The train car's name was Estevan. We kid you not. Her family did not do well in Illinois, with family members contracting tuberculosis and the early death of her father. So, looking for a dry, warmer place to live, they moved to eastern California, near Death Valley. And lost their life savings in a real estate swindle. This story of misfortune and loss does turn around for Helen. Natural good looks and charm got her work first as a model then on the stage, where she met Mabel Normand, an established film actor during the silent era. Mabel convinced Helen to move to Los Angeles and, in 1912, at the age of twenty, Helen began her career in film.
Helen Holmes received her big break when Kalem Pictures was looking for a strong female character to star in a film series to compete with Pathe's The Perils of Pauline. Paired with the director J.P. McGowan, who she would soon marry, Helen's The Hazards of Helen not only showed her daring as she performed many of her own stunts, but made her a massive star. The Hazards of Helen found Holmes in a new dangerous situation every episode - she starred in twenty-six of the 119 episodes made between 1914 and 1917, each episode lasting twelve minutes. One of the stuntmen who also performed in the series (not serial, we will explain the difference in another blog) was a young Harold Lloyd, who would become one of the most popular comedians in films in a few years.
ANSWER: C) November. The Perils of Pauline was introduced in March.