Al and Charles Christie, "Exhibitors Herald" 1924

Some Help with a History of the Christie Film Co.

To go along with our ongoing restoration of Mitchell Standard #46, we are currently in the process of researching the history of the camera’s first owner, the Christie Film Company. Brothers Al and Charles Christie founded the Christie Film Company in Hollywood in 1916 and produced short and feature-length comedies through 1933. The Great Depression sunk property values and forced them to liquidate their assets between 1930 and 1933, ultimately forcing them to close their studio. Charles went into the real estate business in Beverly Hills, while Al went to New York and continued to produce comedies for Educational Film Corp. and Atlas Educational Film Co. In 1941 or 42, Al moved back to California and went to work in the welfare department of the Douglas Aircraft Company, ostensibly producing entertainment for factory workers at the Santa Monica facility.

In the course of our research, we came across a book called “Stardust and Shadows” by Charles Foster that purported to be a collection of biographies about Canadians working in early Hollywood. Looking further into the background of this book, we realized that the information within was completely unsourced, and many reviewers call its information into question. One of the details that we are interested in relates to Al’s time at Douglas Aircraft. According to the book, he brought in a wide array of movie and music stars to the Santa Monica facility to entertain the factory workers, including Bob Hope, Jimmy Stewart, Dorothy Lamour, Lucille Ball, Glenn Miller, Duke Ellington, and many more. While the obituary for Al definitely confirms that he worked for Douglas, we have not found any information documenting what he actually did there. So we present to you this question: have any of you heard or seen anything about this?

Our next step in this research is to reach out to the Museum of Flying in Santa Monica, which began as the Douglas Museum and Library, to see if they have any information that will help us. We also came across this unattributed image of Al Christie at Douglas Aircraft with a caption saying, “He provides 20-minute lunchtime entertainments that send the plane builders back to the machines laughing and refreshed. There’s vaudeville, movies, swing bands, film stars, bingo wrestling. For after-hours he organizes bowling and softball teams, horseback riding and the like.” Once again though, I have as yet no clue where this information came from, or if it is accurate. Any help you can give us would be greatly appreciated.