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The Little Mother (Thanhouser)

February 28, 2011

The Little Mother, released 100 years ago today, starred the famed Thanhouser Kid,  Marie Eline


MOVING PICTURE WORLD 8, no. 8 (28 February 1911): 394


A poor widow who supports her two children, one a baby and the other a girl of six, by scrubbing, weakens under hard work and finally dies. Marie, the ‘little mother,’ anxious that her home may not be broken up, calls on one of her mother’s employers and requests that she be given a chance to take the dead woman’s place. The artist, a wealthy, good-hearted young man, pleased with the child’s pluck, laughingly employers her, and makes her believe that she is really doing all the ‘chores.’

The artist’s kindness, much to his surprise, brings him recompense one thousand fold. one of his models plots to fleece him. She calls at his studio, faints in his arms and when her confederate rushes in with a policeman, she makes charge that lead to the arrest of the innocent artist.

Just as the policeman is leading her benefactor away, the little scrub-woman sees what is happening. She follows the party to the police station but is afraid to enter. When the ‘complainant’ and her husband come out, the child is impressed with the fact that they seem to be on the best of terms. Her suspicions are aroused, and she ‘shadows’ them like a regular detective.

What crook would ever imagine that a little girl, wheeling a baby carriage, was a ‘sleuth’? This pair certainly did not, for when they met a friend in the park, they stopped to tell him how they had successfully arranged to ‘trim’ a rich artist, never doubting that he would pay liberally to have the case dropped.

The little girl, from her place in hiding, heard the story; so did the baby; but if the baby was put upon the stand it could only see “Goo,” and that would hardly be accepted as evidence.

So the girl found a police man and told him about it. And the police-man went with her to her hiding place and heard enough to warrant him in making what he afterwords described as ‘a two-handed collar.’

What happened was that the adventuress and her confederate were hauled to the police station and locked up which the artist was set free in a hurry. The police impressed upon him that he owed his liberty to the bright work of an intelligent little girl, and he has never forgotten it.

The result is that there is now a ‘scrubwoman’ whose duties are sinecure, although the wages are high, and the further of the ‘little mother’ and her baby are assured.

-Manufacturers synopsis printed in MOVING PICTURE NEWS 4, no. 7 (18 February 1911): 17.


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