James W. Horne

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James Wesley Horne (December 14, 1880June 29, 1942) was an early American actor, screenwriter and film director. He began his career as an actor under director Sidney Olcott at Kalem Studios in 1913 and directed his first film for the company two years later.

Silent era

During the silent-era Horne specialized in staging thrill scenes for features and serials. On the strength of Horne's work in The Cruise of the Jasper B, Buster Keaton hired him to direct his 1927 comedy College. From there he moved to the Hal Roach studio, where he worked with Roach's leading stars, Laurel and Hardy, Charley Chase, and Our Gang. Horne's Laurel and Hardy comedies Big Business (credited to "J. Wesley Horne") and Way Out West are acclaimed as classics.

Horne also displayed an aptitude for directing Roach's foreign-language versions; the American version might be staged by James Parrott, for example, but the international version would be entrusted to Horne.

Horne left Roach in 1932 during an economic downturn that eliminated many jobs. He was hired by Universal Pictures where, for the next few years, he directed the studio's now-obscure two-reel comedies. When Universal suspended production, Horne worked briefly at Columbia Pictures and returned to Roach in 1935.


In 1937 Columbia, noting the popularity of serials, decided to enter the field. At first Columbia simply picked up the independent productions of the Weiss Brothers' "Adventure Serials" company, but by...
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