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Francis Boggs
Born March 1870
Santa Rosa, California
Died October 27, 1911
Los Angeles, California
Occupation Film director
Years active 1907 - 1911

Francis W. Boggs (March 1870 – October 27, 1911) was a stage actor and pioneer silent film director. He was one of the first to direct a film in Hollywood.



He was born in Santa Rosa, California to George W. Boggs and Alabama McMeans. While in his teens he began acting with the Alcazar stock company in San Francisco and toured the American southwest. In 1900, he moved to Los Angeles but in 1902 went to Chicago where he continued to work in theatre. There, he met William Selig and in 1907 Boggs became involved with the making of motion pictures at Selig's Polyscope studios in Chicago. With cameraman and jack of all trades, Thomas Persons, Boggs made one of his earliest films, Monte Cristo. He completed the interior shots at the Chicago studio but shot the scenes of Edmond Dantès emerging from the sea at the beach near Los Angeles.

In Chicago in 1908 he made Fairylogues and Radio-Plays which had its writer, L. Frank Baum present a slide show and films as a live travelogue presentation of his OZ story. In March 1909, he returned to the west coast where he filmed In the Sultan’s Power, one of the first motion pictures completely made in Los Angeles. He left Los Angeles in April to go on location in Yosemite and Oakland in California and the Hood River Valley in Oregon. In October, Boggs returned to Los Angeles and rented a small bungalow in the Edendale district as a permanent base from which he operated a west coast satellite studio for Selig. Other East Coast studios soon began filming on the west coast to take advantage of its moderate climate. Among people Boggs started in the film industry were actor-director Hobart Bosworth, actor-director Robert Z. Leonard, cowboy star Art Acord, and actresses Betty Harte, Bessie Eyton and Bebe Daniels. He also gave Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle his first movie work, 1909's Ben's Kid, and did four short films with him.

Boggs was shot to death by Frank Minematsu, a janitor and caretaker, who went berserk, on October 27, 1911.[1] Studio owner William Selig tried to wrestle the gun away from the man and he too was shot, wounded in the arm. Ironically, that same day in 1911, David Horsley and Al Christie set up their Nestor Studios in Hollywood sounding the death knell for Edendale as the film production center of Los Angeles. Within two years more than a dozen film companies would follow Boggs' example and establish facilities in and around Los Angeles.


As Hollywood and the film industry underwent an explosive period of growth, over the years Frank Boggs' significant contribution to the establishing of what would become the Hollywood film industry was all but forgotten.


  1. ^ "Nippon Killer Blandly Smiles. Japanese Caretaker of Moving Picture Studio, Who Killed Manager of Concern Because He "Knew He Was Bad Man" Is Bound Over Charged.". Los Angeles Times. November 9, 1911. Retrieved 2008-07-16. "Frank Minnimatsu, the Japanese janitor who shot and killed Francis Boggs, manager of the moving picture company which has a studio in Edendale, was given a preliminary examination before Police Judge Rose yesterday and held for trial in the Superior Court."  

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