Fire tears through film-cutting plant

Dec. 23, 1922: A "fortune in films was destroyed when an electric lamp short-circuited at Universal City's cutting plant," starting a fire, The Times reported.

Six hundred of the studio's employees helped fight the blaze, including screen star Norman Kerry, "the hero of the fire," who rushed into the flaming building "dressed in part of the Austrian uniform he wears in 'Merry-Go-Round,' " the newspaper said.

"The cutting plant was not seriously damaged, but a total of 1,100,000 feet of film went up in smoke. This includes between 35 and 40 pictures which were being edited," The Times reported.

The damage was estimated at $350,000.

"The loss of prints caused Universal to wire cancellation of bookings for the next four weeks. This will cause serious but unavoidable shortage of film for many exhibitors in all parts of the country," The Times said. "The list of films destroyed included the new series of 'York Norroy' pictures, of which George Bronson Howard, who recently committed suicide, was the author."

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