Today, the Oscars are in the news.
It’s been a while since Col. Patrick A. Powers was.
But this is both the 50th anniversary of the town’s purchase of Longshore, and the season to think about movies, so let’s glance back at the colonel.
He was the founder of Longshore Country Club in 1929, as well as a pioneer in both “talking pictures.” He even contributed in a small way to the creation of Mickey Mouse.
Thanks to Brian O’Leary — the Longshore 50th committee’s ace researcher — for tracking down Powers, then finding this information on Wikipedia.
Powers partnered with Joseph A. Schubert, Sr. and sold phonographs from 1900-07. In 1907, they formed the Buffalo Film Exchange, which purchased films from producers and rented them to nickelodeons.
In 1910, Powers left Buffalo for New York City. He founded the Powers Motion Picture Company that merged with … others in 1912 to create Universal Pictures. He served as treasurer of the Universal Motion Picture Company.
Between the 1922 reorganization of Film Booking Office of America and October 1923, Powers, as one of the company’s new American investors, was effectively in command….In 1928, Joseph P. Kennedy and RCA head David Sarnoff merged FBO and the Keith-Albee-Orpheum theater circuit to form RKO Radio Pictures….
In 1928, Powers sold Walt Disney a Cinephone system so that he could make sound cartoons such as Mickey Mouse’s Steamboat Willie (1928). Unable to find a distributor for the sound cartoons, Disney began releasing his cartoons through Powers’ company Celebrity Pictures.
After two years of successful Mickey Mouse and Silly Symphonies cartoons, Walt Disney confronted Powers in 1930 about money due to Disney from the distribution deal. Powers responded by signing Disney’s head animator Ub Iwerks to an exclusive deal to create his own animation studio.
In his lifetime, Powers produced nearly 300 movies, most of them early silent films produced at Universal before 1913 or one-reel animated shorts. However, he is credited as a producer on Erich von Stroheim’s The Wedding March (1928)….
The New York Times obituary of 1 August 1948 notes that Powers, at the time of his death, was president of the Powers Film Products Company of Rochester, New York. He also had homes in both New York City and Westport, Connecticut….