Rip Van Winkle, Framed Brass Plaque

original production artwork

One of the most famous actors of the 19th Century, Joseph Jefferson lived just long enough to be sought out by Edison and American Mutoscope and Biograph to record, for posterity, both his voice on record, in 1890, and to film him in 1896 doing several scenes from his famous production of RIP VAN WINKLE, a play he wrote and toured with for nearly 50 years. In 1903, Biograph edited together the seven scenes into a short narrative of the play, thus becoming one of the first films to arrange scenes to tell a linear story. Being released in May of 1903, it preceded the more famous THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY by six months, a film also attributed to the development of story narrative. This brass plaque shows the toasting scene, with the toast, and is dated 1903. It is unknown if Biograph or an individual theater owner had it made, but it's existence is surely tied to the film. Jefferson was already ill and would die in 1905, having been unable to perform for the last two years of his life.

item: collector:
category: original / screen-used
type: production artwork
celebrity: Joe Jefferson (1)
movie: Rip Van Winkle (1903)
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