Howell Area Archives Digital Archive

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  • Romaine Fielding as Whitney Gage, Mabel Taliafarro as Gladys Claypool, and unknown

    This series of postcards were advertising for a silent film, "The Rich Slave".   This movie was made by a company named Howell Motion Picture Corporation,  which was formed by Howell resident Thomas J. Fau(s)sett and actor Romaine Fielding.  "The Rich Slave" may have been released in 1919 as "Miss 13".

    View Livingston County Press & Argus Articles on Thomas Fausett (in library use only)

    The Howell Motion Picture Corporation advertised stock sales through the First State & Savings Bank, Howell Michigan, in the Livingston Republican after they sold their first foreign photo play.

    Howell Motion Picture Corporation Stockholders' Meeting 

    In May 1919, the Officers of the Howell Motion Picture Corporation were: T. J. Faussett, President; Lieut. Dorr Frisbee, Secretary & Treasurer; Directors: John Barron, Charles P. Adams, Dr. E. L. Avery, Vernon Locey, and Henry Gerwin.   "The Lives We Live" was to be their first production.
    On February 4, 1920, the Livingston Republican reported that the Temple Theater was showing the first production of the Howell Motion Picture Corporation and its was titled, "The Battle for Billions".

    In a May 5th, 1920 interview, Secretary Dorr Frisbee discussed the future of the Howell Motion Picture Corporation in a stockholders' meeting.  He reported that Thomas Faussett held options on two James Curwood stories.
    Dorr Frisbee Stockholder meeting(in library use only)

    The Howell Motion Picture Corporation was also mentioned in a 1986 article in the LCP.
    Howell Motion Picture 1986 LCP Article(in library use only)

    "The Rich Slave" was filmed in 1917, and released in 1920.  Portions of the movie featured actual Michigan State Police Officers dressed as cowboys and some of this movie was filmed in what is now Kensington Metropark, Livingston-Oakland Michigan.

    This film was directed by Romaine Fielding and written by Lloyd Lonergan.

    As noted by wikipedia: 
    "The State Police records include a typed reminiscence of the event. Harriett Faussett Brogan wrote this undated memoir, titled “Early Michigan State Police Movie Heroes.” She stated that her father, Thomas J. Fausett, had formed a movie company with actor Romaine Fielding. Ms. Brogan noted that the company was based in Howell, Michigan, her father's hometown. She recalled that production of The Rich Slave began “about the middle of June 1917” and that much of the movie was filmed in Howell. According to Ms. Brogan, the State Police portrayed cowboys in some action shots, which were filmed “on land now known as Kensington Park near Brighton.” She further wrote, “There was a log cabin there owned by the Labardy family. And this is where the State Police made their debut as movie stars performing admirably all types of outstanding horsemanship.” (At that time, most State Police officers patrolled on horseback, so they were quite skilled at riding.) She noted that the cabin appeared in the film as the Buck Horn Hotel and that “Mr. Labardy also acted in one of the scenes.” Further research indicates that “Mr. Labardy” was likely either Oliver Labadie or his brother, Hubert. These were brothers of Jo Labadie, whose papers are housed at the University of Michigan. The Jo Labadie Collection Web site notes that Oliver and Hubert opened a film studio, which they named the Labadie-Detroit Motion Picture Company. The Web site lists some films made there, with The Rich Slave appearing on the list."

    Mr. Thomas J. Fausett's (also spelled as Faussett) obituary did not mention his connection to the film or the film company but newspaper clippings from earlier years did.   Mr. Faussett was born in Deerfield Townhip, Livingston, Michigan in 1885, lived most of his life in Livingston County, and died in Chester, South Carolina, in 1961.

    Thomas Faussett Obituaryr (in library use only)

    Thomas Faussett Obit picture(in library use only)

    The Cast of "The Rich Slave" included:
    Harriett Faussett Brogan, daughter of Thomas Faussett, was a  Howell resident and a graduate of Howell High School, Class of 1928.  Mrs. Brogan died in 1982. Harriett Faussett Brogan Obituary  (in library use only)

    Harriett Faussett Brogan wrote "Early Michigan State Police Movie Heroes", a four page summary of her father's involvment in the Howell Motion Picture Corporation, which is in the Howell Area Archives Faussett Family History File.  This complete summary is on page 281, of the "Howell Bicentennial History: The Photographic Supplement", 1992 edition.

    The Temple Theater in Howell showed another film directed by Romaine Fielding, Howell Motion Picture Corporation in 1919; it was titled "For the Freedom of the World", and in June, 1919, another Romaine Fielding Production, "Miss 13".  Mabel Taliafarro starred in this movie also.
     Mabel Taliaferro Miss 13(in library use only)

     For the Freedom of the World(in library use only)
    The silent movie, "The Rich Slave" may now be owned by the Jaxon Corporation.
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