Sidney Olcott, le premier oeil

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March 23, 2014






Finally, Sidney Olcott's grave is in Toronto ! I saw its still

June 1988
, it has been almost two hours since I walk the aisles of the Park Lawn Cemetery in Toronto, the capital of Ontario, Canada. I am looking for the grave of Sidney Olcott.
At the office of the cemetery, it was surprised . " And you come to France for that ? Who is it ? It is famous  ? "
"He was ," I answer. I serve them my speech about the career of one of the most prolific directors of the silent cinema. Their countryman. I tell them about his mother Mary Allcott, alongside which he is buried.
In a cabinet drawer, the officer pulls out a card. "Here. Died in 1903. There is also a JS Allcott. It is in the area G. " But yet ? The attendant handed me a sheet , the plan of the cemetery, and using a pen draws a circle . "It's here !"
- There is not a more accurate indication , a driveway , a landmark ?

Anglo-Saxon cemeteries differ from our cemeteries with their comings and aligned side by side graves. Here are large grassed areas where vertical slabs emerge. Sometimes there is nothing.
In the case of Olcott, an employee of the cemetery told me of a slab of half a meter square, flat on the ground. And to help me I added a gravedigger with a crowbar.
For two hours, we will survey the area G. "The grass has probably covered the slab," says my help. Occasionally, probe it with his crowbar. A thud, he cuts the lawn and uncovers a plate. "No." Two hours later and a few "glongs" we are not more advanced. I decided to put an end to the treasure hunt.
Apart from a large stroke of luck, it would take days to return the hundreds and hundreds of square meters of lawn Area G and uncover the tomb of Olcott. There are 22,000 graves in the cemetery at Park Lawn ! Leaving Toronto, I wonder if this falls exists and if I see it one day. Because in addition to the nature of Anglo-Saxon cemeteries, some objective conditions do not help to bring out the last home of Olcott. Except to clarify the gray areas, Olcott is the only son of Mary Allcott. Itself has no offspring. Tomb tomb quickly dormant if no cares.

February 2003, in the reading room of the cinema in Amsterdam, I read an article on Olcott I do not know, published in 1995 by the magazine in its Classic Images # 244. The author, Jim McPherson, described as grave : a surmounted by a stone slab on which is inscribed : " in memory of my dear mother/Mary Allcott/died Nov. 12, 1903/age 80 years/Christ was his/guide his son John S. Allcott/died Dec. 19, 1949. "
Another slab bears the inscription : "In memory of/John S. Allcott/" Sidney Olcott"/California death/December 16, 1949/age 76 years." To the left of the entry, a Celtic cross engraved with "sorely lacking."

The tomb therefore exists. I try to get in touch with Jim McPherson. I discovered that he is a journalist at the Toronto Sun, a TV columnist. No personal e-mail address. I pass a message to the editor to learn that McPherson has retired and he died there a short time in 2004. Bad luck !

March 28, 2013, I post messages on Find a Grave. This participatory website lists cemeteries and graves in the world. There are quite a few references on people buried in Toronto, but nothing on Olcott. Interviewed, an honorable correspondent of the site, author of nearly 70,000 obituaries, who knows the Canadian cemetery promises to search even hehas never heard of Olcott.

March 22, 2014, in the afternoon, I write for Find a Grave record Gauntier Gene and his sister Marguerite. I carelessly throw a look at the page on the Park Lawn Toronto. And what do I see ? A notice about Olcott. And especially the picture of his tombstone. That's the missing element that has always prevented me from writing this obituary.

This photo was posted by a friend of my honorable corresponding author himself nearly 15,000 posts. The amazing thing is that he lives thousands of kilometers from the capital of Ontario, Essex, England.

Internet is really great !

Sorry for my English

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©2009 Michel Derrien