A friend sent me a link to this rejection slip, and I had to share it.

Some background–the Essanay Film Company produced silent films out of their Chicago studios, and later from Southern California. It started production in 1907 and had considerable success. For one brief year, Charlie Chaplin made films here, including his famous “The Tramp” (1915). Essanay merged with three other small companies in 1918 and that group combined with Warner Brothers in 1925. While this rejection slip isn’t dated, it came from the company’s Argyle Street address, which was their headquarters from 1908 until the 1918 name change, so it must come from that ten-year period. Here is the Chicago headquarters.

The manuscripts referred to must have been screen plays, which during the silent era, would not, of course, have included actual dialogue but rather a story and subtitles. They must have received a lot of them to have printed out this form rejection. A number of people have commented that it looks more like a list of requirements for films today! My favorite is #17.


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  1. Hahahahaha. My good hubby-buddy an’ I had a good laugh over this one. We’ve received some interesting form-letter rejections, but none of ’em seemed to cut us off at the knees, the way this one did.

    “All scenes of an unpleasant nature should be eliminated.”

    Isn’t that what is today referred to as Conflict? Seems to me that there wouln’t be much of a plot without some unpleasantness. LOL

    Thanks for sharing. We enjoyed seein’ it.

    ~ Yaya

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