Ida May Park
The 1916 Motion Picture News Studio Directory credits Los Angeles native Ida May Park with twelve years of stage experience as a “leading woman in support of well-known stars” and with screen experience at Pathé and the Universal Film Manufacturing Company, where she was then employed as a scenario writer (134). Park flourished at Universal, where she wrote forty-four films, half of them feature length, between 1914 and 1919. Before 1917, Park’s husband, Joseph De Grasse, directed almost all of the films she wrote. In 1917, Park began directing her own scenarios and, according to a 1918 story in the Universal Weekly, a newspaper for exhibitors, editing them as well (29). She crafted a total of eleven features by this method in a scant two years. Park is important to understand as part of a strong creative presence that we now refer to as “Universal Women,” those who between 1912 and 1919 were promoted from acting or writing to directing and were credited on at least one hundred and seventy titles, a cohort that included Ruth Ann Baldwin, Cleo Madison, Ruth Stonehouse, Lois Weber, and Elsie Jane Wilson (Cooper 17, Denton 50). Park and De Grasse left Universal in the spring or summer of 1919 for reasons as yet unknown. On September 12, the Los Angeles Times reported that Lew Cody and manager-producer Louis J. Gasnier had signed her to direct motion pictures in which Cody would star (16). She made one such title, and, with De Grasse, directed two features for Andrew J. Callaghan Productions in 1920.
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