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 George B. Meehan, Jr

George B. Meehan, Jr

Brooklyn, Kings County (Brooklyn), New York, USA
Death 10 Feb 1947 (aged 55)
Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Burial Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA
Plot Eventide, L-2042
Memorial ID 11477 · View Source
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American Cinematographer. From 1920 until 1947, he was the cinematographer for 166 films using variations of his name: George Meehan, George B. Meehan, Jr., George Benjamin Meehan, Jr or George B. Meehan. In the credits, his job description was director of photography, photographer, cameraman or cinematographer. As with many of the earliest Hollywood film industry pioneers, his work was not recognized for its greatness until years later. He was acclaimed by his colleagues for his exceptional technical ability, his artful camera work and his willingness to do whatever it took to get the shot. To visualize his accomplishments, first forget modern films dramatic productions and go back in time; then remember the cameras and other equipment available in his Silent Movie Era and even into the 1930’s talkies. For example, he would work for his shot by bringing his camera into a cage of lions or operating it on a swinging steel girder many stories above the street. One of his most famous films was the 1925 “Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ” starring silent screen actor Francis X. Bushman. This movie, which took almost two years to film, is often cited as the most expensive silent movie ever made at about $4 million. For the charging chariot shoot, horses did not pull Ben Hur’s chariot but a car did; a flat-bed truck with five-manned cameras ran alongside the chariot to capture the needed footage. His name was not listed in this movie’s credits, but photos of him working with his camera on the set are evidence that he was there filming. In 1938 “Tarzan’s Revenge” was filmed by him with impressive footage of the beautiful Africa jungle with animals and birds plus a steamboat traveling down a river. While working for Columbia Pictures, he became one of the most accomplished cinematographers of the B-Western era filming, while on location, cowboys riding on horseback at the Iverson Movie Ranch. In the span of his career in the movie industry, he filmed at least 20 movies on this movie ranch; these included Bill Elliott featured in the 1939 “Taming of the West"; William Holden and Glenn Ford featured in the 1941 “Texas” and Charles Starrett featured in the 1942 “Pardon My Gun". Some consider these old cowboy films his best work. Starting in 1934, he filmed for Columbia Pictures sixteen of the 190 of “The Three Stooges” short films. During the 1940’s, Columbia Pictures produced fourteen movies about the fictional character “Boston Blackie”, and Meehan filmed four of them. During World War I, he left his busy career in the silent movie industry to become an official photographer with the U.S. Army. He was a member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC). Released in 1929, the film “Gentlemen of the Press” was directed by Meehan; during this time period, directors and cinematographers had overlapping duties. Released May 15, 1947, “Bulldog Drummond at Bay” was his last reel of film recorded; he once again was not listed in the movie’s credit. He was the oldest of five children of George B. Meehan, Sr. a wire worker in Brooklyn, New York and his wife Theresa Raum, the daughter of German immigrates.

Bio by: Linda Davis

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 8 Aug 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 11477
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for George B. Meehan, Jr (19 Jul 1891–10 Feb 1947), Find A Grave Memorial no. 11477, citing Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), Glendale, Los Angeles County, California, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .