Eyes of the Totem

In the 1920s, Tacoma was on course to become “Hollywood by the Sea,” thanks to silent film studio H.C. Weaver Productions. H.C. Weaver had grand plans for the city but, when sound was introduced into film, those plans quickly crumbled. Before the Tacoma-based production company went under, it produced a silent film called Eyes of the Totem, shot in Tacoma in 1926. The film — the only one that was preserved over the years — is a melodrama containing mystery, action, and intrigue, but the true joy is in getting a glimpse of Tacoma as it existed in the roaring ’20s. Featuring scenes on Pacific Avenue, at Annie Wright School, of the totem pole in Fireman’s Park, and a number of other recognizable locales, the piece is more than a film — it’s a historical artifact.

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