Francis Boggs (1870-October 27, 1911) was a stage actor and important pioneer silent film director and one of the first to work in Hollywood.
Probably born in Santa Rosa, California, while in his teens he began acting with the Alcazar stock company in San Francisco and toured the American southwest. In 1900, he moved to Los Angeles but in 1902 went to Chicago where he continued to work in theatre. There, he met William Selig and in 1907 Boggs became involved with the making of motion pictures at Selig's Polyscope studios in Chicago. With camerman and jack of all trades, Thomas Persons, Boggs made one of his earliest films, The Count of Monte Cristo. He completed the interior shots at the Chicago studio but shot the scenes of Dantes emerging from the sea at the beach near Los Angeles.
In Chicago in 1908 he made Fairylogues and Radio-Plays which had its writer, L. Frank Baum present a slide show and films as a live travelogue presentation of his OZ story. In March 1909, he returned to the west coast where he filmed In the Sultanâ€™s Power, one of the first motion pictures completely made in Los Angeles. He left Los Angeles in April to go on location in Yosemite and Oakland in California and the Hood River Valley in Oregon. In October, Boggs returned to Los Angeles and rented a small bungalow in the Edendale district as a permanent base from which he operated a quasi satellite studio for Selig. Other East Coast studios soon began filming on the west coast to take advantage of its moderate climate. Among people Boggs started in the film undustry were actor-director Hobart Bosworth, actor-diretor Robert Z. Leonard, cowboy star Art Acord, and actresses Betty Harte and Bessie Eyton. He also gave Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle his first movie work and did three short films with him.
Unforunately for the pioneering Francis Boggs, who had made upwards of two hundred short films by the fall of 1911, his career and life ended when he was shot to death by Frank Minematsu, a Japanese gardener who went berserk, on October 27, 1911. Studio owner, William Selig tried to wrestle the gun away from the man and he too was shot, wounded in the arm. Ironically, that same day in 1911, David Horsley and Al Christie set up their Nestor Studios in Hollywood sounding the death knell for Edendale as the film production center of Los Angeles. Within two years more than a dozen film companys would follow Boggs' example and establish facilities in and around Los Angeles.
As Hollywood and the film industry underwent an explosive period of growth, over the years Frank Boggs significant contribution to the establishing of what would become the Hollywood film industry was all but forgotten.