September 23, 1915: Motion picture “Lou” begins filming in Duluth

On this day in Duluth in 1915, the motion picture “Lou” begins filming in Duluth in front of the A. P. Cook house on Boulevard Drive (Skyline Parkway). Called a “photo-play,” the film was sponsored buy the Duluth News Tribune and written by Rudolph S. Shogran, who also played the male lead. The Female lead—and title role—went to Miss Theresa Marotta, chosen through a contest also sponsored by the newspaper. The plot involved the theft of a necklace and the ensuing pursuit of the thief. Scenes included a motor-boat chase, a revolver duel, and a daring escape from pursuing police that involved Shogran leaping from the Duluth Aerial Transfer Bridge. Other Duluth landmarks used as background included the Union Depot, the Omaha Depot, Bagley’s Jewelry Store, and the News Tribune’s office.The police were portrayed by…the police, including Chief Robert McKercher. The screenplay reportedly called for shots of Duluth landmarks and cameos by well-known Duluthians and word leaked out that it may include a potentially scandalous “kissing scene.” It was originally slated to be screened for the first time at the Lyric Theatre, but that venue was changed to the Lyceum. The entire cast attended the premier, and the film was aired several times a day for an entire week, each screening was viewed by sell-out crowds.

A postcard of the A. P. Cook house, aka Duluth’s House of Rock, made ca. 1925. (Image: Zenith City Press)