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What Happened to Mary (1912)

The forerunner of all serials, What Happened to Mary was a series of twelve monthly one reel episodes, each a complete entity in itself, revolving its immediate dramatic and melodramatic ... See full summary »


Charles Brabin


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Mary Fuller ... Mary
Marc McDermott ... Lt. Straker
Charles Ogle ... Richard Craig - Mary's Uncle
Barry O'Moore ... Henry - Craig's Son
Bliss Milford ... Daisy
Bigelow Cooper ... Mr. Foster - the Lawyer
William Wadsworth ... Billy Pearl
Miriam Nesbitt ... A Spy
Harold M. Shaw ... Rev. Cooper
Harry B. Eytinge Harry B. Eytinge ... Secretary - Occidental Trust Company (as Harry Eytinge)
Walter Edwin ... Manager of the Society Queen
Yale Benner Yale Benner ... John Chase
James Smith James Smith ... Stage Manager
Carey Lee Carey Lee ... Leading Lady
Arthur Housman ... Principal Comedian


The forerunner of all serials, What Happened to Mary was a series of twelve monthly one reel episodes, each a complete entity in itself, revolving its immediate dramatic and melodramatic problems within the framework of a single episode and designed more for story and suspense situations than action. Episode Titles (q.v.): #1: The Escape from Bondage; #2: Alone in New York; #3: Mary in Stage Land; #4: The Affair at Raynor's; #5: A Letter to the Princess; #6: A Clue to Her Parentage; #7: False to Their Trust; #8: A Will and a Way; #9: A Way to the Underworld; #10: The High Tide of Misfortune; #11: A Race to New York; #12: Fortune Smiles. Written by Anonymous

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Action | Short | Thriller







Release Date:

26 July 1912 (USA) See more »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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The first serial. See more »

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User Reviews

She's right here!
14 September 2000 | by rudy-46See all my reviews

I was fortunate enough to find an installment of this rare early serial on video. It is important to keep in mind that motion pictures at the time were still relatively new and plots and storylines were beginning to develop more continuity. Before Melies work and Porter's infamous "Great Train Robbery" 1903, film was mostly a novelty of presenting simple everyday things with no viable plot. This can be seen in the works of the Lumiere brothers and Edison's early kinos of the 1890's. By 1912, when this series was released, a greater fluidity of storytelling was evidant after the advent of D. W. Griffith and other pioneers. Although this isn't one of the great films of the silent period, its still an important piece of early cinema. This has the distinction I believe, of being the first serial designed to lure moviegoers back to the theaters every week. Many people think Pearl White's "Perils of Pauline" 1914 was the first, when in fact Kathlyn Williams starred in "The Adventures of Kathlyn" 1913 the year before and with the surfacing of "What Happened to Mary" 1912 we know that Mary Fuller was the first true serial queen. What did happen to Mary? or for that matter Who was Mary?? Mary was a young, attractive actress with a winsome smile and flowing dark hair, an ideal candidate who radiates sweet innocence in the face of danger. Not much else is really known about Mary. She spent most of her career with the Edison company and shortly after Edison folded in the late teens retired from the screen all but forgotten. Not much is known or written about her private life. That great heroine of early cinema died peacefully in her sleep in 1973 at the age of 85. Mary Fuller was not the greatest actress the screen has known nor was she the worst. Upon viewing this clip it is clear her histrionc skills were impressive enough to draw her faithful followers. There are many unsung people like Mary Fuller who played an important role in the development and history of cinema. Sadly these may be the only surviving images of Mary. Another reason film preservation is so vital.

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