Tuesday, October 04, 2016

A 19th-Century Poker Movie: Poker at Dawson City

Just a quick post today to share an interesting find I happened upon while doing some reading around for Poker & Pop Culture.

The newest installment of the series went up on PokerNews today, a fun discussion of a couple of paintings by Frederic Remington featuring poker games -- one about to break into the violence, the other one having already ended in bloodshed. Check it out: “Poker & Pop Culture: Frederic Remington’s Cowboys, Cards, and Carnage.”

While reading around for that one, I happened on another old, old, old poker-related film clip. A week ago in the series I wrote about the 1912 short A Cure for Pokeritis, a topic of earlier posts here on HBP. As I’ve noted here, it’s more or less the “first poker movie,” although there exists an earlier one from 1910 by D.W. Griffith called The Last Deal (something I mention in the column).

Well, there’s an even older “poker movie,” although again it’s hard really to count this one as it is merely a 20-second clip directed by James H. White, one of about 1,200 films made by the Edison Manufacturing Company studio during the last years of the 19th century and first years of the 20th.

The title suggests what we’re seeing takes place at Dawson City, a town in Yukon, Canada where the Yukon Gold Rush was attracting many at the time the film was made. However, the scene was certainly shot in New Jersey in Edison’s studio.

There’s no poker at all, really -- just a funny-to-watch brawl apparently resulting from some sort of argument caused by the game. Kind of a humorous, light version of the deadly scene depicted in Remington’s painting, A Misdeal discussed in today’s column.

Here’s the film, in its entirety -- neat to see:

The mention of Edison gives me an excuse to point out that one of the tracks on my pop album Welcome to Muscle Beach is called “Thomas Edison” and is about the inventor. In fact, the song features Edison himself!

Click here to visit my Bandcamp page to hear it. Then you might as well download it (and everything else from my seven albums) for free!

(And if you do listen or download anything, let me know what you think.)

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