EDMUND H. CHEESMAN (1897 – 1984)


Ed was the husband of Aileen Ware. He dated her for over 8 years before she finally agreed to marry him, but the story of their courtship is for another time.
My father met my mother in 1920 shortly after he had moved from Kansas City, to the Los Angeles area with his mother, father and younger brother. He worked at a car dealership washing and detailing the cars. The family lived next door to his older sister and her husband, Ernst Smith.
When you lived in Hollywood in those days, sooner of later you got involved with the movie industry and my father worked at Universal Studios, hand-coloring a picture for Carl Lemlie.
Ernst Smith knew many people in Hollywood and decided to invest in a series of silent one and two-reel shorts, written and directed by Irving Cummings. The “Mountie Series” originally were developed and produced by Maple Leaf Productions, which later became The Irving Cummings Production Co.
The premise of the movies was to be the adventures of men who occupied lone outposts in the Canadian wilderness. So a location was scouted near Riverside, CA in the San Jacinto mountains, called Idyllwild. (One of my father’s older sister’s lived in Hemit, near Riverside, and she had introduced my father to the area. He had hiked and hunted there.)
At Idyllwild, they found the perfect location called Keen Camp, a wide meadow with some cabins, a stream and Mt. Tahquitz peak as a backdrop.

Norris Johnson and Ed Cheesman

Norris Johnson and Ed Cheesman

At the end of May of 1921, my father and the company left for two weeks filming on location. (My Dad missed my mother so much, he would often drive the long road back to Hollywood to spend a few hours with her.)
The company filmed on location in June, July, October, November,and December that year. Back-stages and back-lots of Universal Studios were used, also. The films were edited and compiled at Universal.

Unknown actor, Irving Cummings, Norris Johnson (Norie) and Ed Cheesman

Unknown actor, Irving Cummings, Norris Johnson (Norie) and Ed Cheesman

The first previews of the first two movies were shown at a Hollywood theater June 17, 1921. (My mother said my Dad was in both.)
The next year, shooting was only in July and October. (I believe the end of 1922 was the finish of the series. I was told by my mother that 12 were made and to date, I have been able to have found 5.)
My father was good friends with the cameraman, Abe Freid. Abe dated a friend of my mother’s for a time and they would all double-date together.
Irving Cummings was getting reputation as a good director and his production company moved on to bigger projects.
In June of 1926, Irving was filming at Jasper Park in Canada, and my mother, who was on a vacation at the time, saw Abe Freid. They went to a dance that evening at the Lodge. A few years later, she wrote in her diary, she had heard Abe had died.
I was born when my father was 50, so I didn’t know him as a young man. These photos and several others have been in my possession since I was a child. When I saw the movies, I was able to match some of them to scenes, and it was very exciting for me to see him in “action,” so to speak.


EDMUND H. CHEESMAN (1897 – 1984) — 2 Comments

  1. Hi,
    I was very interested in your article. We just found a picture of my grandfather, Roger Cotton, in a Mounties outfit and written on the back was a note about him being in a movie in Idyllwild Ca. in 1921.(My grandfather built a cabin for his mother in Idyllwild in 1918 and our family has ties to Idyllwild for many years). I have been hunting for information and came upon your article. How can I get a copy of any of these movies or do you know of a way I can watch them. Thank you so much for any help with my project.

  2. This is a very interesting article. The photos bring names and faces to go with so many published articles. Well written.

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