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Silver Bar


DeMille was not an experience film maker when he arrived in Los Angeles. His only preparation for the job of film director was to spend a day in New York at the Edison Studio, observing and learning. As a safety measure, a more experiened film director was also hired, Oscar Apfel and he and DeMille shared directorial duties on "The Squaw Man." Their styles were seamless and one cannot immediately identify which scenes were done by which director. There were other hints of DeMille's inexperience, though.


DeMille was unaware of the silver residue created from the film development process and was disposing of the used developer without regard to it. A gentlemen came by the studio and asked if they needed someone to haul away the used developer. He offered a rate of ten dollars a week. The cost-conscious DeMille declined. The man lowered the price first to five dollars, then at no charge at all, and finally he offered to pay DeMille to allow him to haul the used developer away. DeMille, realizing this rapid change in rates indicated that there was some kind of value to the material, he made the man an offer - if the gentleman would tell him what he was planning to do with the exhausted developer. It was at that point, the man explained he was able to reclaim the used silver and resell it. They then agreed to split the profit. From one of the reclaimed batches of silver, DeMille had an ingot made to remind him of those things he did not know.


(Our ingot, for visual reasons, is larger than DeMille's would have been!)


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