More on Lovecraft’s good New York friend and Kalem Club anchor member Everett McNeil, specifically his career as a movie scriptwriter in New York circa 1912-1917, before the movie industry shipped out to California. I previously briefly identified this possibility in my book Walking with Cthulhu.

Moving Picture World credited him as writer with Selig Polyscope Co. 1913; and Eclair Film Co., Inc, 1914; and also has an article by him on “How to Write a Photo-Play” (i.e.: a cinema script) in July 1911 which a contemporary book on movie history called a “prescient” anticipation of the later film-writing manuals. The date of this suggests he may have had a career in the movies that began before 1912. This appears to be confirmed by a comment about the length of his career in The Writer’s Monthly (Jan 1916)…

    “For an example of careful work in scenario writing — resulting in the director’s following each scene almost exactly as written — I should like photoplay fans and photoplaywrights to keep an eye open for the forthcoming Heine-Edison five-reel feature drama, “The Crucifixion of Philip Strong.” [aka The Martyrdom of Philip Strong, a Paramount feature-film] It is founded on the well-known novel of that name by Rev. Charles M. Sheldon, and is what I call a thoroughly well prepared script. Through an error, credit for the screen adaptation was given to Francis M. Neilson. Full credit for the screen version is due to Everett McNeil, a photoplaywright and fiction writer of long experience, who has been selected by Mr. L. W. McChesney to devote himself exclusively to the production of adaptations and original stories for director Richard Ridgely.” [my emphasis]

This led me to find what has now become a fairly full listing for Everett McNeil’s movie credits on IMDB, which I’m pretty sure wasn’t there when I was writing Walking with Cthulhu:

1917 A Lucky Slip (short) (scenario)
1917 Builders of Castles (picturizer)
1917 The Master Passion (scenario / as Everett MacNeil)
1916 The Martyrdom of Philip Strong (story)
1916 When Hooligan and Dooligan Ran for Mayor (short) (story)
1915 The Making Over of Geoffrey Manning (story)
1914 The Price Paid (short) (story)
1913 The Beaded Buckskin Bag (short) (writer)
1912 A Messenger to Kearney (short) (story)
1912 When the Heart Rules (short) (story “The Sealskin Overcoat”)
1912 A Cowboy’s Best Girl (short) (scenario)

So when Lovecraft knew him in New York, McNeil was less than ten years away from a fairly long movie career. Which, one assumes, ended (just as McNeil was about to break into regular features work) due to the effects of the First World War and/or the move of the New York movie industry out to California?

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