http://www.arkansasonline.com/news/2018 ... firsts-20/
Filmmaker pioneer honored for firsts
By Cary Jenkins
This article was published April 8, 2018 at 2:07 a.m.
Broncho Billy Anderson reception
One of the first famous onscreen cowboys of the silent film era was born into a Little Rock Jewish f...
One of the first famous onscreen cowboys of the silent film era was born into a Little Rock Jewish family in 1880. The late Broncho Billy Anderson, born Gilbert Maxwell Aronson, was honored on his birthday March 21 with a reception, lecture and film screening at the Historic Arkansas Museum.
Many of the guests arrived after a small ceremony placing a marker at the site of Aronson's birth, 713 Center St., where First United Methodist Church is now located. The marker was donated by the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation.
At a reception in the museum's atrium, guests enjoyed a variety of food prepared by the Jewish Federation of Arkansas including apricot strudel and mandelbrot cookies.
David and Rena Kiehn, with the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont, Calif., spoke to guests about Aronson and his work in the film industry as an actor, producer and co-owner of Essanay Film Co. Among Aronson's career highlights were his appearance in The Great Train Robbery, considered by film historians as the first major Western film; signing Charlie Chaplin to Essanay for 14 films; and producing the first film to pair comedic actors Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy. Aronson also was given an honorary Oscar in 1958 for his contributions to American cinema.
After the film discussion, guests were treated to several silent films with local musician John Willis playing the movie scores.
Event sponsors included Arkansas Cinema Society, First United Methodist Church, Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, Jewish Federation of Arkansas and Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum.
-- Story and photos by Cary Jenkins
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