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The Story of Norton I: Emperor of the United States (1936)

(1936)


Multi-Media Summary

Numismatic content: scene from 1:08 to 3:15 depicting usage of Emporer Norton promissory notes.

This black-and-white theatrical short was part of Columbia Pictures' Strange As It Seems series. The series was inspired by the syndicated comics of John Hix, whose Strange As It Seems franchise was the chief rival to Robert Ripley's Believe It or Not! franchise.

The 9-minute short, inspired by a Hix comic that originally was published in April 1934, appears to feature the earliest dramatic portrayal of Emperor Norton extant on film.

To learn more about the film, see this 2016 article from The Emperor's Bridge Campaign, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that advances the legacy of Emperor Norton.

Presented here is a scan of the Campaign's own 16mm copy of the film.

This copy of the film is doubly rare, as it is the complete original version of the film, including the Columbia Pictures titles. Copies of the film in other collections — including the Library of Congress and the Pacific Film Archive at UC Berkeley — are of a 1947 reissue by the Academic Film Company. In this reissue, the film is retitled Emperor Norton, and the original Columbia title cards are switched out.

Film contributed by The Emperor's Bridge Campaign, a San Francisco-based nonprofit that advances the legacy of Emperor Norton, through its Archive of Emperor Norton in Art, Music & Film (ARENA).

Film may be under copyright. It is presented here solely for non-commercial, educational purposes.

Digitized by the Internet Archive.
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