The first film adaptation of Washington Irving’s “Rip Van Winkle”, a short story about a man who awakes after a 20 year long sleep to a huge white beard on his face and a much changed world. In this footage, Joseph Jefferson, the actor most associated with the character on the 19th century stage, makes a series of short films recreating scenes from his stage adaptation.
This film is important in that it captures the work of Joseph Jefferson III, a significant comic in the American stage of the 19th century. Rip Van Winkle is the role most associated with him; he debuted it in 1859 in Washington and played it for 40 years.
He was also a teacher to actor James O’Neill, the father of playwright Eugene O’Neill.
Director W.K.L. Dickson
Production – American Mutoscope Co
starring Joseph Jefferson.