October 12, 1912
About that Hydroaeroplane Mishap

For the past two weeks, the Chicago branch of the Selig Motion Picture Company has been busily engaged in the production of an aviation picture that promises to be thrilling. Miss Kathlyn Williams, the always popular leading woman of the Selig Company and Max Lillie and Beckwith Havens, well known aviators, are the principal players in the unique subject.
     During the recent Chicago air meet at Cicero park, Miss Williams made several flights in the biplane of Lillie, as his passenger. These scenes were all recorded by the Selig cameras as part of the picture. After the Cicero meet, the aviators moved their machines down to Grant park on the lake front of Chicago, for the hydroaeroplane meet. Beckwith Havens was engaged by the Selig Company to complete the scenes required for the picture. Henry McRae, one of the Selig producers, and Stanly Twist, of the business department, were supervising the production.
     Everything went well until the last day of the meet. Miss Williams made several successful flights with Havens in his hydroaeroplane in front of the cameras without mishap. On Sunday, the last day of the meet, the producers prepared to secure the climax scene, in which Miss Williams, adrift in a disabled motorboat, far out at sea, is rescued from her perilous position by Havens in his hydroaeroplane.
      When all preparations had been completed and the event was about to be enacted, McRae and Twist were told by the Aero Club officials that they would have to wait until Havens had completed all of the events in which he was entered, before they could produce the required scene. Only one event remained to be completed and Havens was the only one entered in it.
     This was the grand prize trophy event. In order to win it, the aviator was required to circle the mile crib eight times, carrying with him a passenger. When Havens began to look around for the necessary passenger to accompany him, there was none to be found. Nobody seemed anxious to take a chance in such a race. As the afternoon light was fading rapidly and the picture had to be completed before dusk that day, Mr. Twist volunteered his services, in order to secure Havens for the remaining scenes in motion pictures.
      Dressing himself in aviator clothes, Twist climbed into the passenger's seat and they were off for the trophy race. Several rounds were made without mishap and many thousands of people were excitedly watching the maneuvers of the air craft, when suddenly those on shore saw the nose of Haven's pontoon strike the water and the machine turned a complete somersault on the lake surface. Twist was thrown through the air for about fifteen feet before he struck the water. Havens clung to the wrecked machine, but Twist started to swim the half mile between himself and shore, not taking into consideration the fact that his heavy boots and clothing would soon weigh him down.
      After proceeding about fifty yards he began to feel exhausted and would undoubtedly have met with a more serious fate, if Miss Williams, who had been waiting in the motor boat outside the crib breakwater, and who had been a witness to the accident, had not had the presence of mind to put on full speed and race to the rescue of the sinking man. When Twist was rescued by Miss Williams, he was on the point of exhaustion but outside of a severe chill and a few bruises, he suffered no ill effects.
      A funny coincidence connected with the affair is the fact that Twist, who is also press agent of the Selig Company, had planned a unique press story in connection with the event. When the originally planned press stunt was brought to a sudden end by the accident, the amount of space that the Selig company secured in the daily papers throughout the country, more than made up for the experience that the players underwent. Another hydroaeroplane was secured the next day and the picture was finished.
This was taken from Taylorology Newsletter issue: 48,
Courtesy of the Editor: Bruce Long, bruce@asu.edu

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