Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Stars of MSG: Young Griffo, unconventional film star
STARS OF MADISON SQUARE GARDEN: Young Griffo
LOCATION: MSG II
Excerpted from my article from October 2, 2007
"[E]ver wonder what the very first movie ever shot in Manhattan was? It also happens to be the first film ever shown to a paying movie audience at all -- Young Griffo versus Battling Charles Barnett
[Brother filmmakers] Otway and Gray Latham had invented the Eidoloscope projector (also called the Pantoptikon), running very crudely like a film projector today. However its image size was very small, about the size of a small TV set. The Latham brothers had debuted test images to the press. But their real test of this device was to film something live and then display it a short time later.
So on May 4, 1895, the brothers filmed a boxing match on the rooftop of Madison Square Garden, then on 27rd Street and Madison Avenue. The competitors were 'Battling' Charles Barnett in the ring with Young Griffo (pictured above), a legendary Australian boxer who was also a raging alcoholic and later ended up in an insane asylum.
Sixteen days later, that four-minute film, Young Griffo versus Battling Charles Barnett, was displayed to a paying audience, at a makeshift theater in a storefront at 153 Broadway (a couple blocks up from Wall Street). .... Sadly, no extant copy of Young Griffo has been found. "
You can read more about the sad life of Young Griffo here.
Photo courtesy here