Florence Turner (1887–1946), one of the most popular performers at the Vitagraph Studio in its early years, made her debut in 1907 and was soon starring opposite Maurice Costello. She soon be- came known as “The Vitagraph Girl” and was the subject of a song. Turner left Vitagraph in 1913 to make films in England with Larry Trimble. She was Buster Keaton’s mother in College (1927).
“The Vitagraph Girl” is a 1910 song by J. A. Leggett (words) and Henry Frantzen (music), the first song about a movie star. When audiences began asking for pictures starring “The Vitagraph Girl,” the studio commissioned this song as a pro- motional gimmick. It became popular as a sing- along when Turner introduced it theaters. The lyrics ask, “Who hasn’t been to a picture show and gazed with surprise and delight at scenes that are happy and sad?” and go on to say that the “great- est feast for the eyes is the Vitagraph girl. I’m in love with the Vitagraph girl, the sweet little Vita- graph girl.”
Ken Wlaschin, The Silent Cinema in Song, 1896 – 1929 (McFarland, 2009)
[Click on any image for a larger view, and to read lyrics.]