Some time ago, after a screening at the Silent Cinema, one of the viewers - Dave Pattison - said that his grandmother was a pianist in the silent cinema in the 1920s. He knew nothing much about it but promised to look around. This week Dave came back to us with an email. It turned out that he conducted a professional investigation, and thus the almost-forgotten story of his grandmother came to light. Here's what he wrote (and agreed to make it public).
MEET MILLIE WHITMORE
As promised, here are two photographs of my grandmother Millie Whitmore (1898 – 1971). These pictures were taken in the 1920s.
She was a photographer by trade and later was to manage a studio where entertainers would get their promotional portraits done, as well as families, etc. But for a while, when starting, she supplemented her income playing piano for silent movie audiences in the evenings.
I'm fairly sure this must have been at the Metropole, because (according to the census of 1921) that was a short walk from where she lived in Openshaw, Manchester. The theater was used for both drama and cinema. You can read about it here, and there is a photo.
Another family member told me that this series of US short films was something she once played the score for when it was released in Europe after WW1.
Unfortunately, I never heard her playing piano as I was not born until the 1960s, and she had long retired by then. I remember a piano being in the house, certainly.
Hope this is interesting. It was fun trying to research. I don't have much more to show you. Maybe one day I'll find some more artifacts!
- Dave Pattison
DO YOU KNOW ABOUT YOUR LATE FAMILY MEMBER BEING A PIANIST AT THE SILENT CINEMA OR RELATED ANYHOW TO THE SILENT CINEMATOGRAPHY? PLEASE LET US KNOW! EVERY SUCH ARTISTIC SPIRIT IS WORTH PROTECTING FROM FORGETTING. CONTACT US!