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Tom Mix, Rudolph Valentino, Pearl White: Niles Essanay

You want action? Movie-movie action? Then forget The Avengers, which opens in the Us on May 4. The following day, head instead to the Niles Essanay Film Museum in the northern Californian town of Fremont, where they’ll be screening two action-packed flicks: Laughing at Danger and "The Tragic Plunge," episode 7 of the serial The Perils of Pauline. Haven’t heard of either one? Well, Laughing at Danger was an independent production released in 1924. It stars Richard Talmadge (no relation to sisters Constance Talmadge and Norma Talmadge), who, according to some sources, was quite popular in the Soviet Union, of all places. As for the serial The Perils of Pauline, it was a humongous success in 1914, turning Pearl White (photo) into a major screen star. Actually, more than that. White became a near-legendary movie icon, one whose adventures have been copied, remade, and rebooted ever since. In fact, I wouldn’t

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