blackbirdan online journal of literature and the artsSpring 2012 v11n1
Helen Holmes

Helen Holmes (1892–1950) was best known for performing her own stunts in American silent films. In 1912, encouraged by friend Mabel Normand, Holmes moved to California to work with Keystone Studios. After a few bit parts, she made a move to the Kalem Company in 1913, where she worked with director J.P. McGowan. In 1914, Kalem Company released The Hazards of Helen—twenty-six episodes staring Holmes as Helen. Throughout the adventure series, the heroine’s thrilling exploits often included a leap onto a speeding train or a dangerous chase after train robbers to bring them to justice. Holmes was celebrated for these heroic images of female daring. Holmes and McGowan made a few adventure films after forming the short-lived studio, Signal Film Productions. Holmes went on to make eighteen more adventure shorts, including a Western.  end