Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Hail to the King (Baggot), Baby

I love silent films and I especially love learning about the heady days of early Hollywood. I've only seen one King Baggot film, his 1913 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde film that I reviewed thus:

"The transformation is done via dissolve. I was reminded of Boudu Saved From Drowning when Hyde crashes a party."

Pauline Kael I am not, however I did enjoy this film and jotted down that quick note about it after viewing it.

More than his performance, I've always been intrigued by King Baggot because of his bizarre name. He was fairly big in the early days, but I only recently learned the rest of his story. He was both an actor and director, but both jobs dried up once talkies were introduced. Despite being stage trained and having a great voice, as with most of the silent stars he was no longer employable and was brushed aside for fresher, younger talent. His raging alcoholism probably didn't help any, and he died divorced, broke and alone in 1948 after suffering several strokes.

I went to Calvary Cemetery in East LA to pay my respects to the icons buried there, and the first grave I wanted to visit was Baggot's. I was not able to find any information online as to where he was buried, and when I went to the main office to ask where he was it actually took awhile to locate him because he wasn't easy to find in their computer. They did eventually locate him and after a minor hunt I was able to locate his grave. Interestingly, there is a blacked out name right next to his, and part of me wonders if that was intended for his wife before they had a bitter divorce.

As you can tell from my previous entries, I don't update this blog very much. Hell, my last post was some dumb shit about a Pavlok that I decided not to get last year. I'm posting this because there are zero pictures of King Baggot's grave online, and it's a shame for someone who was as big as he was, no matter how brief that stardom was, to be forgotten. So here it is, King Baggot's grave. Also, go to YouTube and check out his Jekyll and Hyde movie. It's a hoot.