Day 293 of Colourisation Project – February 24
Challenge: to publish daily a colourised photo that has some significance around the day of publication.
Born this day, February 24, 1880, John Paterson (J.P.) McGowan, a boy from Terowie, a small railroad town, 220 kilometres from Adelaide, was the first Australian to establish a full-time film career in Hollywood.
From the dawn of the silent era through to the ‘talkies’ he blazed the trail for the many Australians who came after him. Known as Hollywood’s ‘Railroad Man’ for his railroad thrillers of the 1910s and 1920s, (in which he made famous the image of a terrified woman being tied to the railway tracks), McGowan achieved a prodigious output as actor, director, producer and screenwriter with an involvement in over 600 productions.
After retiring from acting, he worked as Executive Secretary for the Screen Directors Guild, (now Directors Guild of America) a position he held from 1938 until he retired in 1951. To this day, McGowan remains the only Australian to have been made lifetime member of the Screen Directors Guild.
McGowan died on March 26, 1952 in Hollywood, of heart attack in his sleep. He was 72.