Sunday, July 28, 2013

Steve Dancy in New Jersey? What's that about?

film by Thomas Edison
Still from The Great Train Robbery

The Return, A Steve Dancy Tale partly takes place in New Jersey. Oh yeah, and Thomas Edison is a character in the latest story. Dancy fans need not worry; Steve has been firmly converted to an unabashed Westerner. He has good reason to visit New Jersey and it will take someone toughened by the Wild West to sort out the mess in Menlo Park.

Western gear
Serratelli Hat Company
New Jersey may not be the Wild West of the mid nineteenth century, but the Colt revolver was invented in New Jersey, Annie Oakley called New Jersey home, the Serratelli Hat Company is based in Newark, John B. Stetson came from New Jersey, and the first Western movie was filmed in New Jersey. Six shooters, western hats, and the birth of Western movies: that ought to be enough to give New Jersey a Western pedigree. Besides, Edison needs Steve and his friends to sort out a few problems or he may never complete his electrification of Wall Street.

Edison, has the curriculum vitae to play a role in a traditional Western, especially one where the protagonists are miners, not cowboys. Thomas Edison’s contributions to mining included new techniques in blasting, conveying, crushing, and magnetic separation. His greatest mining invention was the electric cap lamp. 

As for his cowboy credentials, he has none, but his company produced the very first Western feature film. In 1903, the Edison Manufacturing Company distributed The Great Train Robbery.

You might notice his name in the upper left hand corner of the title frame. I believe this makes Mr. Edison a cowboy at heart, which in my mind gives him the right to cavort in a Steve Dancy Tale.

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