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Leonard Maltin

Stepping Into The Past

  • By Leonard Maltin
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  • November 1, 2009 5:12 AM
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As long as I’ve been attending the San Francisco Silent Film Festival I’ve been promising myself to visit the Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum...and this year I finally got there. It’s an easy drive over the Bay Bridge to Fremont, California and the charming village of Niles, which looks much as it did when G.M. “Bronco Billy” Anderson discovered it in the teens and decided to build a studio there. Dedicated volunteers have restored the theater on Niles Boulevard that once showed silent films and turned it into a wonderful museum, filled with evocative memorabilia and early filmmaking equipment. It’s also a working theater where silent films are screened every Saturday, and tour groups are welcomed.

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