Vim Comedy Company: Jacksonville, Florida
In the early years of American movies, Jacksonville, Florida, experienced a brief turn in the spotlight as one of the hubs for filmmaking on the east coast.

The Vim Comedy Company, based in Jacksonville and New York, was one of several film studios operating in the Jacksonville area in the first three decades of the 20th century.

Most of the images presented here were collected by one of the Vim actors, William "Billy" Bletcher (1894-1979), while working at the studio between 1915 and 1917.

The company produced hundreds of two-reel comedies (over 156 comedies in 1916 alone).

Before going out of business in 1917, it employed such stars as Oliver “Babe” Hardy, Ethel Burton, Walter Stull, and Kate Price, as well as Swedish-born director Arvid Gillstrom.

Oliver Hardy began his film career and rise to international fame in Jacksonville, first at the Lubin studio, then with Vim and his own production company, and finally with the King Bee studio, which took over Vim after its repeated financial troubles.

Hardy, Price, and many of the other Jacksonville actors made permanent moves to Hollywood soon after the political atmosphere in Jacksonville turned against the movie industry due to accusations of fraud, ties to political corruption, and fear of endangering the public welfare because of elaborate stunt sequences staged without city approval.

The Florida Photographic Collection contains more than 158,000 images, representing the most complete portrait of Florida available.
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