Burton Holmes is considered the father of the travelogue, having coined the term in 1904 to advertise his unique live stage presentations combining stories of his travels with slides and motion pictures. Sophisticated and elegantly attired, Holmes became the world's most famous traveler during the first half of the 20th century through his books, magazine articles, lectures and films. Born into a prosperous Chicago family in 1870, Holmes turned a chance encounter in the early 1890's with John L. Stoddard, the then reigning 19th century travel lecturer, into a lifelong career. Each summer for over fifty years Holmes would roam the globe and then tour American auditoriums in the winter; during the 1945-46 season alone, at age 75, he gave 157 two-hour lectures. Slowed by ill health and television, Holmes retired to Hollywood in 1952 and died there in 1958. His company, Burton Holmes International, survived into the 1970s. For more information visit The Burton Holmes Archive, and Burton Holmes.org or watch the George Eastman House Burton Holmes podcast


Born in Washington D.C. in 1902, Andre de la Varre quit school at age 17, bought a motion picture camera, and went to Europe to find adventure. He began making his own travel films and in 1924 became a cameraman for Burton Holmes. In the early 1930's, de la Varre went out on his own as "The Screen Traveler" and made theatrical shorts for independent release as well as for many of the major Hollywood Studios. He traveled and filmed constantly. In an autobiographical sketch, he wrote: "During the winter of 1938-39 I drove more than 10,000 miles through Morocco, Algeria and Tunisia. I covered not only cities and coastal regions but criss-crossed back and forth over the Atlas, Djurdjura, Kebelie, and Aures mountains. I also visited many of the oases on the Northern Sahara and crossed over trails or no trails in the deserts and mountains." De la Varre continued traveling and making films for the next forty years and died in Vienna, Austria at the age of 87. For more information visit The Burton Holmes Archive


Carl Dudley was best known for his 1958 production of Cinerama's South Seas Adventure, but throughout his career produced more than 300 "travel adventures" as he preferred to call travelogues. Dudley was born in 1910 in Little Rock, Arkansas aboard his father's Ward & Wade Minstrels Show train. In 1935, inspired by seeing the film Mutiny on the Bounty, he traveled to Tahiti, Australia and India, supporting himself by working on film crews. He landed back in Hollywood in the late 1930's and worked briefly as a screenwriter. In 1944 he started Dudley Pictures Corp which produced the series This World of Ours and This Land of Ours for theatrical and educational distribution. He died of a heart attack in Hong Kong on September 2, 1973.


James A FitzPatrick was famous as the originator, producer, and narrator of "FitzPatrick Traveltalks" a long running series of over 225 theatrical travelogues he made for MGM between 1930 and 1955, many of them in Technicolor. He claimed to have traveled around the world more than 25 times in the process. Born in Shelton, Connecticut in 1894, he graduated from Yale and later attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York. In 1923 he formed Fitzpatrick Pictures and produced a series of theatrical shorts about famous composers. Following his stint at MGM he made a series called Vistavision Visits for Paramount. He died on June 12, 1980 in Palm Springs, California.


Eugene Castle, while not exactly a travel filmmaker, was perhaps was the person most responsible for popularizing travelogues for home viewing. His company, Castle Films was the largest distributor of films for home use in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. Born in 1897, Castle began working for Pathe News while still a teenager, and held a variety of positions in the non-theatrical film business until 1937, when he hit on the idea of drawing on newsreel and old silent film libraries to create one reel shorts for sale on 16mm and 8mm to be watched at home. In 1947 he sold the company to Universal Pictures for a reported $3,000,000, and Universal continued to use the Castle Films name and trademark until 1977. Following the sale, Castle devoted his time and money to publicly campaigning against what he considered to be the inefficiency and waste in America's foreign propaganda activities, especially the USIA. He died in New York City in 1960.

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