(New York, [1862]-New York, 1918)

mccutcheon wallace
© National Library of Australia

Jean-Claude SEGUIN


William McCutcheon (New York,-≤ 1880) épouse Fanny June ([1844]-≥ 1880), fille de Jacob June. Descendance:

  • Wallace McCutcheon (New York, [1862]-New York, 03/10/1918) épouse Mira (Myra) West (New York, 1866-New York, 01/10/1936). Descendance:
    •  Wallace McCutcheon (New York, 24/10/1884-Los Angeles 27/01/1928) épouse ([1919] ; divorce: Providence, [1921]) Pearl White (Green Ridge, 04/03/1892-Neuilly-sur-Seine, 04/08/1938)
    • Marie Mira McCutcheon (New York, 07/10/1889-Baltimore, 25/10/1975) épouse New York, 01/06/1910) Wilfred E. Veira Jr.
    • Ross McCutcheon (New Jersey, 20/06/1901-Riverside, 19/04/1984)
    • Norman McCutcheon (1902-New York, 29/09/1918)
  • Mary McCutcheon (1864-)
  • George McCutcheon (1879-) épouse (New York, 30/03/1901) Amelia Nehebas
  • Fanny McCutcheon (1873-)
  • Horace McCutcheon (Jersey City, 1875-) épouse (New York, 25/04/1914) Marie Helen Horn (1890-)


Les origines (1862-1896)

Wallace McCutcheon, dont le père décède alors qu'il est encore jeune, est employé à la compagnie des téléphones (1880). Il se rapproche du monde du spectacle et, à partir de 1888, il devient manager adjoint et trésorier du Grand Opera House de Brooklyn. A partir d'avril 1892, il en devient le manager jusqu'en juin 1895. Il reprend alors le Raulah House à Patchogue (Long Island) pendant l'été, et disparaît avec sa femme en laissant de nombreuses dettes, puis le Metropolis Theatre en août 1896.

grand opera house patchogue raulah house
Patchogue (Long Island), Raulah House (1896)
bronx metropolis theatre
Grand Opera House, Elm Pl., Near Fultron St. (c. 1900) Bronx, Metropolis Theatre, 3rd Avenue. (1903)
© Museum of the city of New York

Le Cinématographe (1897-1906)

L'American Mutoscope & Biograph Company (1897-1905)

Dès l'éte 1897, il est engagé par l'American Mutoscope & Biograph Company, à la suite du départ de W.K-L. Dickson et d'Elias Koopman pour l'Angleterre. Wallace McCutcheon et son collaborateur William Betzer vont jouer de malchance lors de l'une des premières prises de vues qui a lieu à Atlantic City, le 9 août 1897 :

Picture Taking Apparatus Smashed by Chemical Machine at Atlantic City.
Drive Did Not Obey Orders, It Is Said-Four Men Injured-Gossip of the Gay Seaside Resort
Special to The Inquirer
1515 Atlantic Avenue
ATLANTIC CITY, Aug. 9.-At a drill of the Atlantic City Fire Department to-day a chemical engine, under full speed, ran down a biograph machine which was engaged in taking a view of the apparatus as it was moving into action. Wallace McCutcheon and William Betzer, who were managing the machine, were thrown with terrific force to the ground and badly bruised, while the machine itself, valued at $2500, was completely wrecked. Policeman Woodruff and Charles Smallwood were thrown down by the horses and sustained injuries to their hands, which they will not be able to use for several weeks.
The accident is attributed to the disobedience of the driver of the chemical engine, who failed to keep to the centre of the street, as ordered by Chief Williamson. The fire apparatus of seven companies was to have passed the biograph machine within one minute, and in their endeavors to get by in time the drivers urged their horses to their topmost speed. As a result the Beach Pirates, the Chelsea Company and the Goodwill Company chemical engines came abreast of the biograph all at the same instant. There not being room enough for all three to pass, the outer engine, belonging to the Goodwill Company, was forced to run into the photograph machine to avoid colliding with the Beach Pirates engine.
there were several hundred people gathered in the vicinity of the accident when it occurred, and the wonder is that several were not killed. The photograph people were to have taken a picture of the Philadelphia Fire department to-morrow.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, Philadelphia, 10 Aug. 1897, p. 2.

S'ils ne sont pas responsables, le matériel est en revanche détruit.

1900 09 25 courrier mccutcheon 1900 11 22 courier mccutcheon


En tout état de cause, dès 1897, Wallace McCutcheon et William Betzer font équipe dans les tournages pour le compte de l'American Mutoscope & Biograph Company. Il en est une pièce maîtresse et supervise une part importante de la production n'hésitant pas à utiliser des dernières nouveautés en terme de caméra :

Cost of Taking Pictures One Hundred Dollars a Minute.
The Machine Takes From Eighteen to Twenty-four Hundred Picture a Minute To Secured South Carolina, Cotton. Picking Scene.
Wallace McCutcheon and M. H. Mark, who are interested in the American Mutoscope and Biograph company of New York, are now taking pictures along the line of the Southern railway, and will shortly show to the theatre-goers of the big cities the wonderful natural beauty of the "Land of the Sky." They went to Greenville, S. C., Tuesday, and while there will take a cotton picking scene.
In view of the fact that the biograph is one of the mechanical wonders of the age, a few figures in relation to its working ability would not be uninteresting.
In the first place this machine takes anywhere from eighteen hundred to twenty-four hundred pictures a minute, never less than eighteen hundred, and taking more, according to the speed at which the vehicle upon which it is stationed is going and the rapidity of the operator. The film upon which the pictures are taken is three hundred and forty feet long, and the cost of taking pictures for the space of one minute is one hundred dollars.
In the recent prize fight between Fitzsimmons and Sharkey over seven miles of films were used, and every motion made by the combatants was faithfully portrayed. By figuring this up it can easily be seen what a large amount of money was involved in the making of these pictures.
As in the case of all snapshots, the weather conditions play an important part in the taking of views for the biograph, but the day being fine and clear it is remarkable with what distinctness and regard to detail the machine does its work.
The machine used by Messrs. McCutcheon and Marks is called a "hand camera," because it is used by hand, and so as to distinguish it from the one worked by electricity, which is also handled by their firm.
The developing of the large rolls of tape-like film is done principally by the aid of machinery, and is an interesting process.
There are many of these moving pictures upon the canvas shown to the public, but it is the opinion of many that the best pictures are those shown at Keith's theatres and some other places of amusement by the American Mutoscope and Biograph company.
On the 17th these gentlemen will be in Buffalo, N. Y., taking views of the Pan-American exposition buildings. They will return to Asheville, however, the first of the week.

Asheville Gaily Gazette, Asheville, 12 Oct. 1900, Fri, p. 5.

Il tourne ainsi de nombreux films avec une équipe dont font partie, parmi d'autres, Alfred Marvin et William Bitzer, comme à l'occasion de la Grande Parade du Ground-Breaking:

Police department Will Lead All Organizations in World's Fair Line of March.
Will Endeavor to Prevent Freezing of Ground on the Site-Arrangements for Biograph Pictures.Major George K. Hunter, chief of staff for the parade on Ground-Breaking Day at the World's Fair, appeared before the Ceremonies Committee yesterday and made a report of the detail of the organizations which will have places in the column. He was instructed to assign the places in the column, giving the Police Department the right of the line.
Advices from the American Biograph Company state that the work of placing the scenes of the parade will be under the supervision of Wallace McCutcheon, manager of the biograph department of that company. He will be assisted by Alfred Marvin and William Bitzer. Mr. Marvin was the company's biograph operator with the American fleet during the Spanish American War, and he obtained the pictures of the destruction of Cervera's fleet at Santiago. Mr. Bitzer was the first biograph operator in the same war. He landed at Siboney with the first American troops and caught many stirring scenes, when he was stricken with tropic fever. The cameras they will use are said to be the same machines through which light passed to fix many of the thrilling incidents of the Cuban campaign. The biograph force will arrive in the city Wednesday morning.

The St. Louis Republic, December 17, 1901, p. 2.

Avec Edison (1905-1906)

Et après (1907-1918)

Retour à la Biograph (1907-1908)

C'est en octobre 1907, que Wallace McCutcheon revient à la tête de la Biograph comme le rapporte The Bilboard :

During the past few weeks the American Mutoscope & Biograph Company, preparing for the Fall and Winter trade, have made a number of changes and improvements, the most important of which being the return to the company of Mr. Wallace McCutcheon as managing director of the studio. Mr. McCutcheon needs no introduction to the moving picture world, being one of the oldest and best-known producers in the business—in short a pioneer—and the originator of the story film in this country, both comic and dramatic, prominent among which will be remembered Personal, The Lost Child, The Chicken Thief, Moonshiners, etc., which prove most amusing and attractive even to this date. To his credit is due also the first Talking Picture ever made. It was produced in the old Biograph Studio at 841 Broad way, Aug. 16th, 1899, and entitled The Gay Old Boy. The scheme was an artistic success but managers were not then inclined to employ the extra man required to operate the phonograph.
Back in his old haunt, rich with new ideas, he starts the ball rolling with the production mentioned in the advertising columns of this issue. A view of this film is most reassuring, and is but a prelude of better things to come.
Abetting this important change, the company have made big improvements at their factory, increasing the working capacity fully fourfold by additional floor space and the installation of new machinery of an advanced type. The new system of printing recently adopted insures much clearer and steadier films.

The Bilboard, vol. 19, nº 43, 19 octobre 1907, p. 20.


News of the Nickolets
We are pleased to inform our readers that one of the "old-time stagers" in the moving picture world is now back again in harness, hitched to the old wagon that started in the years when the Biograph first commenced its furore with motion pictures. We refer to Wallace McCutcheon, who is now once more at the head of the studio of the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. Old exhibitors will well remember, he is the father of the story film, both comic and pathetic, which in the later '90s held audiences spellbound and were always attractive and asked for again and again. We refer principally to such films as "Personal," "Lost Child," "The Chicken Thief," "Moonshiners," etc., which are quite as fresh to-day as on their first appearance. In parenthesis, we may mention that the first talking film ever made was produced by Mr. McCutcheon in the old studio on Broadway. This was known as "The Gay Old Boy."

We saw, the other day, the latest production of Mr. Mc- Cutcheon, and can assure our readers that when this film is placed on the market they will have something worth exhibiting to their patrons.
We understand the Biograph Company have increased their working capacity by additional floor space and the installation of new machinery of a modern type to the extent of approximately fourfold.
Talking with one of the large importers the other day, we happened to mention the fact that Mr. McCutcheon had returned to the Biograph, and his remark was that they had got the best man in the business at the head of affairs again.

The Moving Picture World, vol. 1., nº 32, 12 octobre 1907, p. 502.

La collaboration avec Gaston Méliès (1909-1910) 

À l'automne 1909, Wallace Mc Cutcheon va rejoindre Méliès qui l'a embauché à Fort Lee (New Jersey):

On Friday of next week, hereafter his regular release day, George Melies will issue his first film under Patents Co sanction. From several films which the firm has prepared, "The Stolen Wireless" has been selected as the best one, and that will be the starter of a regular series of "Melies' Star Films."
Wallace McCutcheon, the dean of motion picture producers, has posed all of Melies films and will continue to do so for some time at least. Mr. McCutcheon was the producer for the Biograph in the days when moving pictures in America were in their infancy. He has since served in a like capacity for Edison and Lubin.

Variety, vol. XVI, nº 5, 9 octobre 1909, p. 13.

Méliès l'envoie ensuite à Brooklyn pour tourner quelques films pour la GMMC.

Wallace McCutcheon is now general producing manager for the Melies house in New York.

The Billboard, vol 21, nº 42, 16 octobre 1909, p. 13.

1909 12 18 publicite
Variety, vol. 17, nº 2, 18 décembre 1909, p. 33.

Méliès l’a ensuite envoyé en 1910 au Texas, à San Antonio, avec son fils (Paul Méliès), pour installer un nouveau studio, après avoir abandonné celui de Brooklyn:

The following appeared in the columns of the San Antonio Daily Express, of Monday, January 3, 1910:
"San Antonio and its climate has attracted the manufacturers of moving picture films, and for the next three or four months a company of real actors will work eight hours each day in enacting those roles now displayed in every city where the picture show flourishes.
"Wallace McCutcheon, a pioneer in this business and now manager of the producing department of the firm of George Melies, of Paris, France, and Paul G. Melies, son of the head of the New York branch, reached the city yesterday. Within a week it is planned to have the studio ready and the making of silent dramas and comedies will be under way. The actors will reach here Wednesday from New York City.
"We ara not," said Mr. McCutcheon, at the St. Anthony Hotel, asking any financial aid of San Antonians. San Antonio was selected by our firm because we learned that it was the land of sunshine, and would afford us a great deal of scope for our operations. We were informed of Fort Sam Houston, and one of our aims is to secure here a number of pictures of the soldiers. There is at Fort Sam Houston a splendid opportunity for a series of brilliant pictures that must necessarily appeal to the American who has a martial spirit, and is interested in his country’s arms. We are now having written the story of San Antonio by an author with whom Americans are familiar, and who is familiar with the history of this city and its achevements. The staging of this picture must necessarily take in many of the points of interest, and will, of course, include The Alamo. We appreciate that a great amount of work and many rehearsals will be required to fulfill our aim in this respect. Before we attempt to put this picture on a film, we shall wish to have it witnessed in San Antonio first by those who are interested in San Antonio, and are familiar with the city. We want something historically correct, and there will be ample romance in it. It will be, on the whole, one of the greatest films of the year, and one, we believe, that will appeal to the masses."

The Bilboard, 22 janvier 1910, p. 13.


NIVER Kemp R., Biograph Bulletins. 1896-1908


Jacques Malthête.



Steamship "Northland"

Fire Drill at the Factory of Parke, Davis & Co

X-Ray Mirror 

The Gay Old Boy.


Finish of Futurity Race (Finish of Futurity)

The Matron Stakes (AM&B)


Ballooning in New York (Balloon Race) (AM&B)

The Camera Friend nº 1 (AM&B)

Fastest Wrecking Crew in the World (AM&B)

Fatal Attempt to Loop the Loop on a Bicycle

Girl at the Window (AM&B)

Harvard-Pennsylvania Football Game (AM&B)

"He Cometh Not," She Said (AM&B)

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (AM&B)

I Had to Leave a Happy Home for You (AM&B)

In My Lady's Boudoir (AM&B)

Indians Leaving Bald Mountain (AM&B)

Juvenile Elephant Trainer (AM&B)

Kit Carson (AM&B)

Love in a Perilous Place (Hammock Over Water)

Love M, Love My Dog (AM&B)

Pioneers (Firing the Cabin, Discovery of Bodies, Rescue of Child from Indians, Sttler's Home Life) (AM&B)

Rescue of Child from Indians (AM&B)

Settler's Home Life (AM&B)

A Total Accident (AM&B)

Trappers Crossing Bald Mountain (AM&B)

A Yard of Puppies (AM&B)


Launch of the Battleship "Connecticut" (AM&B)

Personal (AM&B)

The Lost Child (AM&B)

The Chicken Thief

The Moonshiner (AM&B)

The Widows and the Old Man (AM&B)

Boat race (AM&B)

Wanted: A Dog (AM&B)


The Inauguration of President Roosevelt (AM&B)

Man Overboard (AM&B)

Panorama from Times Building, New York (AM&B)

The Watermelon Patch (Edison)


The Terrible Kids (Edison)

[The Black Hand]

Looking for John Smith (AM&B)

Battleship "Indiana" in Action (AM&B)


The Love Microbe (AM&B)

Wanted a Woman

The "Teddy" Bears


At the French Ball (AM&B)

Bobby's Kodak (AM&B)

The Boy Detective (AM&B)

Classmates (AM&B)

Her First Adventure (AM&B)

The Stage Rustler (AM&B)

When Knights Were Bold (AM&B)