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 J Don Alexander

J Don Alexander

Webster Groves, St. Louis County, Missouri, USA
Death 6 May 1955 (aged 70)
Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA
Burial Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA
Plot Block 224, Lot 218
Memorial ID 26917119 · View Source
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Businessman, Film Maker, Aviator. Julian Don Alexander

Colorado Springs Gazette Telegraph
Friday, May 6, 1955

J. Don Alexander, President of Film Firm, Dies at 70

J. Don Alexander, president of the Alexander Film Co., Recognized as the world’s largest producer of theatre and television commercial films, died this morning at a local hospital from a heart ailment. He was 70.

Mr. Alexander, who with his brother, Don M. Alexander, developed the company from an “idea” after discovering a kerosene-burning French projecting device more than a third of a century ago, had lived here since 1928, when his company moved here from Englewood.

He was a member of the Executive council of the International Screen Advertising Services, with headquarters in London, England, and was a former director of the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce.

In 1951 he was named to a six-year term to the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind board, and he instrumental in organizing the Junior Achievement movement in Colorado Springs.

Born Jan. 1, 1885 in Webster Groves, Mo., Mr. Alexander and his brother began screen advertising in Keokuk, Ia., with the kerosene-burning projector discovered in the attic of their grandfather’s home.

With the aid of D. M. Alexander, Mr. Alexander built an arc light for the old steroptican. Using bed sheets sewed together by their grandmother for a screen, the brothers solicited Main Street merchants for advertising, selling space at $4 a week. With the “screen” hung on the side of their grandfather’s store, they were in business showing a set of colored slides they found with the old projector.

J Don Alexander would show colored slides and then work in hand painted advertisement.

After their Keokuk venture, the brothers moved to Spokane, Wash., where J Don Alexander took a job with the Public Service Company while his brother completed high school. Later, J. Don Alexander developed his own electrical contracting business, the Alexander Electric Co., in Spokane.

The brothers set up their motion picture business that resulted in today’s film company in 1919, in the basement of the electrical shop. J. Don Alexander acted as scenario writer, cameraman, and salesman while Don M. Alexander, technically minded, handled the film production end of the business. At the end of their first year in business they show a profit of $2.50

In 1923, the Alexanders moved their company to Englewood, south of Denver, to be located more centrally in the company.

Seeking a faster means of transportation than trains for his sales force, J. Don Alexander went into the airplane manufacturing business developing and building the Eaglerock. Demand for the plane by others developed with Mr. Alexander as head of the company. He was certified as a pilot with license No. 29.

Following the Eaglerock, Alexander developed the Alexander Bullet, a low-wing monoplane with the first retractable landing gear ever put into operation. Although its design led the way in low-wing planes the company fell on hard times due to the depression of the 1930s and the Alexanders decided to liquidate the aircraft business in order to save the film advertising company.

Today the Alexander studios cover 18 acres north of Colorado Springs, serving some 25,000 customer’s thruout the world.

Originally the company made films only for local and regional customers but under J. Don Alexander, developed into a world-wide organization.

Development of television opened a new program for the company, which today employs more than 600 persons.

The Alexanders also developed the Alexite Division of the film company, which developed and manufactured Garden-Gro and Alexite, a perlite building material. Garden-Gro later was sold to Simpson and Co., and the Alexite name and building material rights to the Great Lakes Carbon Co.

Mr. Alexander and Gertrude M. Metz were married July 15, 1903, in Cincinnati. Besides Mrs. Alexander, he is survived by his brother, a vice president of the company, and two sons, Don Alexander Jr., a vice president, and John Alexander, film company salesman.

Mr. Alexander was a member of the Bankers Club, New York City; the Broadmoor Gold Club; the Colorado Springs Chamber of Commerce, the Variety Club of Dallas, Tex., and the New Orleans Yacht Club.

The Alexander home is at 1830 Wood Ave.

The Law Mortuary is in charge of funeral arrangements.

Family Members

Gravesite Details Buried beside him are his wife Gertrude, his son Don Jr., and Don Jr.'s two wives Emma and M. Lousie.
  • Maintained by: Ron West
  • Originally Created by: Ami
  • Added: 18 May 2008
  • Find A Grave Memorial 26917119
  • Ron West
  • Find A Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for J Don Alexander (1 Jan 1885–6 May 1955), Find A Grave Memorial no. 26917119, citing Evergreen Cemetery, Colorado Springs, El Paso County, Colorado, USA ; Maintained by Ron West (contributor 47389384) .