Commonly known as the Pathé Frère company’s “Peerless Fearless Girl,” or the “Heroine of a Thousand Stunts,” Pearl White’s undaunted and adventurous persona became emblematic for her career and for serial queens by and large. These included Grace Cunard at the Universal Film Manufacturing Company, Helen Holmes at the Kalem Company, and Kathlyn Williams at the Selig Polyscope Company. Her key work consisted of action serials during an intense decade starting in 1914. From 1910, prior to the serials, Pearl White started out as a rather anonymous actress at the Powers Company, the Lubin Manufacturing Company, and the lesser-known Crystal Film Company, acting in films little recalled today, of which few have been preserved. The bulk of her early productions were split-reels for Crystal, directed by Lois Weber’s husband Phillips Smalley and distributed by Universal Film Manufacturing Company. Pearl White reached some popularity at Crystal playing comedy parts, as Moving Picture News in a 1912 article titled “Miss Pearl White to Become Aviator” tells us (19). In multiple films in 1913 Pearl White’s characters were subsumed under a recurrent character name, in fact, her own—a practice indicative of the serial films.
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