Feb 15, 1913: the first movie containing an appearance by a young unknown extra named Harold Lloyd was released to theatres.
Using a tactic not unlike his “glasses” character might have used to break into the movie business, Lloyd had gotten onto the set by making himself up in costume as an Indian, and joining the legitimate cast of the film as they returned from their lunch break, thereby sneaking past the security guard. He appeared as a Yaqui in the film The Old Monk’s Tale, which was produced by the Edison Company. The film is a western, not a comedy. IMDB describes the plot as follows:
A monk tells a tale about a woman who can only surrender her heart to a man who can offer her jewels. A poor man falls in love with her and steals jewels off a statue of the Madonna to give to her.
It features the stars Ben F. Wilson, Laura Sawyer, James Gordon and Charles Sutton, and features Jessie McAllister as “the Temptress.” The film seems to be extant; people who’ve seen it say you can only see Lloyd for a few fleeting seconds.
To find out more about the variety arts past and present, consult No Applause, Just Throw Money: The Book That Made Vaudeville Famous, available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and wherever nutty books are sold. And don’t miss Chain of Fools: Silent Comedy and Its Legacies from Nickelodeons to Youtube, to be released by Bear Manor Media in 2013.