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Broncho Billy Anderson: A Celebration of His Life and Work

2018-03-21: Broncho Billy Anderson

Broncho Billy Anderson: A Celebration of His Life and Work


March 21, 2018 7 PM to March 21, 2018 9PM

Historic Arkansas Museum - 200 E. Third Street, Little Rock AR

Additional Event Details

Broncho Billy Anderson: Arkansas’s Own Oscar-Winning Movie Star

A Celebration of His Life and Work

Wednesday, March 21, 7 pm

Reception, talk and screening of short films

Special Guests: David and Rena Kiehn, world authorities on silent cinema

Free; reservations required • RESERVE ONLINE NOW or call 501-324-9351 

Join us for a celebration of Broncho Billy Anderson on his 138th birthday. We’ll have a reception featuring Jewish foods from Anderson's childhood and a presentation by David and Rena Kiehn, founders of the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum in Fremont, CA. Some of Broncho Billy’s short films will be introduced and shown.

Before his rise to fame, Broncho Billy Anderson was born Max Henry Aronson on March 21, 1880, to Jewish parents at a house on 713 Center Street in Little Rock, Arkansas (currently the location of First United Methodist Church). Later, Aronson moved to Pine Bluff.

Aronson, known as Gilbert Anderson, played a huge role in defining not only silent films but the early cowboy-western genre. As Broncho Billy Anderson, he was the first cowboy-western movie star. Along with producing, directing and starring in 140 films as Broncho Billy Anderson, he is credited with being the first to sign Charlie Chaplin (with Anderson’s Essanay Film Company), producing the first film pairing of Stan Laurel and Oliver Hardy, and for directing the film (Mr. Flip, 1909) with the first-known instance of the pie-in-the-face gag. And in 1958, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Anderson an Honorary Oscar for his contributions to cinema.

Prior to the reception at the museum, there will be a dedication of a marker honoring Anderson by Jerry Klinger, Founder of the Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation, held at 6:30 pm in front of First United Methodist Church, 8th and Center Street, Little Rock. All are welcome.

The celebration will continue on Thursday, March 22, in Pine Bluff at Arts & Science Center for Southeast Arkansas. For more information, visit their website.

Sponsors of Little Rock Events  

Arkansas Cinema Society

First United Methodist Church

Historic Arkansas Museum

Jewish American Society for Historic Preservation

Jewish Federation of Arkansas

Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum