“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Jacksonville in Duval County, Florida — The American South (South Atlantic)

Norman Silent Film Studios

Norman Silent Film Studios Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, September 25, 2014
1. Norman Silent Film Studios Marker
Inscription.  While Jacksonville bustled with the activity of motion picture filming during the years 1908 through 1916, by the early 1920s little of the industry remained in town. However, over on Laura Street in the Springfield section of Jacksonville, brothers Richard, Bruce and Earl Norman continued to produce silent films. After the untimely death of Earl in 1919, Bruce went on to other enterprises, but Richard Norman was to ultimately establish a permanent place in movie history.

Norman purchased the former Eagle Film City property in Arlington, Florida, in 1922. Recognizing the need and market for non-derogatory films for African-American audiences, Norman Film Manufacturing Company produced full-length adventure films featuring all-black casts using professionally-trained actors. At a time when blacks were stereotyped and demeaned in mainstream movies, in Norman's films, black characters were heroes and heroines, leaders and lovers.

Several of Norman's films were shot at his Arlington location, including Regeneration and the Flying Ace. The only known surviving Norman film, The Flying Ace starred Lawrence Criner and Kathryn Boyd,
Norman Silent Film Studios Marker seen with studio building image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Tim Fillmon, September 25, 2014
2. Norman Silent Film Studios Marker seen with studio building
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two of the leading black actors of their day, and was touted as "the greatest airplane thriller ever filmed," though all airplane scenes were shot on the ground using a prop plane. The Bull-Dogger, one of the most famous Norman films, was filmed in the all-black town of Boley, Oklahoma, and starred Bill Pickett, the famed black rodeo performer credited with inventing the sport of bulldogging.

Norman continued to make feature films through 1928, ultimately inventing a system that synchronized sound with moving images. He had sold fewer than 20 units when a competitor introduced a sound-on-film system that made Norman's invention obsolete. Norman continued his film career, however, producing industrial films and distributing other producers' works until his death in 1960.
Erected 2009 by A grant from Comcast through Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in this topic list: Entertainment. In addition, it is included in the National Historic Landmarks series list.
Location. 30° 20.019′ N, 81° 35.614′ W. Marker is in Jacksonville, Florida, in Duval County. Marker is at the intersection of Arlington Road and Westdale Drive, on the right when traveling west on Arlington Road. Touch for map.
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Marker is at or near this postal address: 6327 Arlington Road, Jacksonville FL 32211, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Jacksonville And The Movie Industry (here, next to this marker); Frederick W. Bruce (approx. 0.2 miles away); Arlington Grammar School No. 46 (approx. 0.6 miles away); The Crossroads (approx. 0.6 miles away); Historic Floral Bluff (approx. one mile away); Historic Arlington Town Center Ferry Landing (approx. 1.1 miles away); Historic Strawberry Plantation (approx. 1.2 miles away); Anna Madgigine Jai Kingsley (approx. 1.4 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Jacksonville.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on March 16, 2016, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. This page has been viewed 354 times since then and 5 times this year. Last updated on March 29, 2016, by Glenn Sheffield of Tampa, Florida. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 16, 2016, by Tim Fillmon of Webster, Florida. • Bernard Fisher was the editor who published this page.

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Jan. 27, 2023