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ARTFUL KATE, PICTURELAND, and "The Cochrane Brothers and the Making of Universal Pictures"

September 12, 2019, 7:00 P.M.

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108, George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex, 900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007

The USC School of Cinematic Arts invites you and a guest to attend a special screening of

ARTFUL KATE (1911, 10 min.) &
PICTURELAND (1911, 10 min.)

and a discussion of the new book
The Cochrane Brothers and the
Making of Universal Pictures


7:00 P.M. on Thursday, September 12th, 2019

The Ray Stark Family Theatre, SCA 108
George Lucas Building, USC School of Cinematic Arts Complex
900 W. 34th Street, Los Angeles, CA 90007



Screenings followed by a Panel Discussion with
Authors Piper Cochrane, E.J. Stephens,
Kurt Wahlner, and Marc Wanamaker.

Followed by a light reception in the
George Lucas Building Lobby.


About the Screenings

In 1911, Tom Cochrane, one of the founders and the main producer for the IMP (Independent Motion Picture) Company had a problem. He was kept busy cranking out a one-reeler every week featuring IMP's biggest star, Mary Pickford. But he also had to contend with the thugs from Thomas Edison's Trust who were constantly sabotaging his equipment and threatening his people.

To relieve the pressure, Cochrane packed up seventy-two cast and crew members and sailed away to Havana, Cuba. Finally out of the reach of Edison and his hated monopoly, Cochrane successfully produced five films. For decades the only one thought to still be in existence was Artful Kate, which starred Pickford and her husband Owen Moore, and was directed by Thomas Ince. But recently, Pictureland, one of the four lost films, was discovered in Japan and painstakingly restored. For over 100 years this film was thought to be one of Pickford's lost films, but on discovery, it was learned that she wasn't in it. The film actually starred Isabel Rae and King Baggot, who may also have directed it.

About The Cochrane Brothers and the Making of Universal Pictures

Who knew there were 5 silent Scotch-Irish brothers behind the scenes of Universal Pictures, making it all happen? The Cochrane Brothers and the Making of Universal Pictures is a 192-page coffee table book full of untold stories and unseen photos!

Brought up in Ohio and schooled in the newspaper and advertising fields, the Scotch-Irish Cochrane brothers Negley, Witt, George, Tom, P.D. (Philip), and Robert III were an impressive band of achievers who saw an opportunity in the exploding nickelodeon business of the early twentieth century. Partnered with their newly unemployed friend Carl Laemmle, they formed the Laemmle Film Service, followed by IMP the Independent Moving Pictures Company and later Universal Pictures. Together this dynamic team created Hollywood's Star System, making household names of America's Sweetheart, Mary Pickford, among others, and slayed the formidable Edison Trust dragon, unleashing explosive growth and creativity to the nascent film industry. The Cochranes were also credited with creating the distribution network in Asia for not one, but two major studios and were instrumental in introducing the American pastime of baseball to Japan.

The success of Universal was built on the Cochrane brothers ability to promote, entice, excite, produce, and sell films - a winning formula that was later copied by all the major studios. Without the Cochranes management and marketing genius, Hollywood as we know it today might not exist.

Though barrels of ink have been emptied chronicling the early years of cinema an era when a rented hall, a piano player, and a bedsheet tacked to a wall were often all that was needed to begin a career in the flickers the true story of the birth of Universal Pictures and its forgotten founding Cochrane brothers has never been told. Until now.

About the Guests


Born in Laguna Beach, Piper Cochrane lived with her entrepreneurial family in Japan, Guam, France, and Italy. She attended the University of Southern California as a theater major, but switched to the school of communications. After dabbling in Hollywood as a producer and actress, Piper followed in the path of her parents, becoming part of many small companies and creations. With her daughter, Ginger, she founded the Organic Candy Factory eight years ago. About that time, Piper’s father, Tom Cochrane Jr., mentioned that he wished he had known his father better (who had died when Tom Jr. was only five). This became, for Piper, another fulltime job, and this work of passion, after six years, is finally a book!


E.J. Stephens is the author of ten books on Hollywood history. He co-hosts a television program in Santa Clarita called SCV in the Movies, and he and his beautiful wife Kimi operate a tour company called Newhallywood Tours. E.J. is currently in the process of creating the first silent film festival in Southern California which will debut in February 2020 in Santa Clarita. He and Kimi live in Stevenson Ranch.


Los Angeles native Kurt Wahlner has been a graphic designer for many years, originally working at Daily Variety. In 1980, he cofounded Softalk, the first computer magazine aimed for end users of Apple computers.  He has been the art director for General Publishing Group and for Gibbs Smith, Publisher. He has created the films A Formula for Mayhem and Analog Roam, as well as being the camera assistant on the first 3-strip Cinerama film shot in 50 years, In the Picture. More recently, he has been writing a history of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre at, and is currently working on a full-length biography of Sid Grauman.


Marc Wanamaker is a world-class expert in film history who has worked in many facets of film production, exhibition, and research. He holds degrees in theater arts, music, and history. After coproducing musical concerts and film expositions, he assisted in forming the American Film Institute facilities in Beverly Hills in 1969. He had been an AFI staff member for seven years when he began to produce-direct and consult on documentaries related to the history of the motion picture industry. Wanamaker is a founder of the Los Angeles International Film Exposition, known as FILMEX, founded in 1971, and was involved in forming The American Cinematheque. His vast experience coproducing film festivals and expositions led to a position as program consultant with the Pordenone Silent Film Conference in Italy. He has tapped into his world-class archive to produce several historical film festivals, conferences, and programs. His Bison Archives has consulted on more than 100 documentary films. From Hollywood: The Pioneers, a 13-hour history of Hollywood films of the silent era, to biography documentaries of Hollywood studio personalities, Marc Wanamaker has played an integral part in everything from script preparation to researching historical photographs.

Check-In & Reservations

This screening is free of charge and open to the public. Please bring a valid USC ID or print out of your reservation confirmation, which will automatically be sent to your e-mail account upon successfully making an RSVP through this website. Doors will open at 6:30 P.M.

All SCA screenings are OVERBOOKED to ensure seating capacity in the theater, therefore seating is not guaranteed based on RSVPs. The RSVP list will be checked in on a first-come, first-served basis until the theater is full. Once the theater has reached capacity, we will no longer be able to admit guests, regardless of RSVP status.


The USC School of Cinematic Arts is located at 900 W. 34th St., Los Angeles, CA 90007. Parking passes may be purchased for $12.00 at the USC Royal Street Entrance, located at the intersection of W. Jefferson Blvd. & Royal Street. We recommend the USC Royal Street Structure, at the far end of 34th Street. Limited street parking is also available along Jefferson Blvd.

Contact Information

Name: Alessandro Ago