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The Family Skeleton

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The Family Skeleton
Directed byVictor Schertzinger
Jerome Storm
Screenplay byThomas H. Ince
Bert Lennon
Produced byThomas H. Ince
StarringCharles Ray
Sylvia Breamer
Andrew Arbuckle
William Elmer
Otto Hoffman
Jack Dyer
CinematographyChester A. Lyons
Thomas H. Ince Corporation
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • March 31, 1918 (1918-03-31)
Running time
50 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageSilent (English intertitles)

The Family Skeleton is a surviving 1918 American silent drama film directed by Victor Schertzinger and Jerome Storm and written by Thomas H. Ince and Bert Lennon. The film stars Charles Ray, Sylvia Breamer, Andrew Arbuckle, William Elmer, Otto Hoffman, and Jack Dyer. The film was released on March 31, 1918, by Paramount Pictures.[1][2]


As described in a film magazine,[3] Billy Bates (Ray) believes that he has inherited the desire for strong drink from his father and, in order to live apart from his friends unmolested, he retires to a cheap saloon where each day finds him sinking lower. Poppy Drayton (Breamer) loves Billy and decides to save him from himself. She hatches a plan that makes Billy believe that she has been kidnapped, and Billy finds that he can do without John Barleycorn when the safety of the woman he loves is at stake.



Like many American films of the time, The Family Skeleton was subject to cuts by city and state film censorship boards. For example, the Chicago Board of Censors required cuts in Reel 3 of four closeups of woman seated at table with men drinking and to reduce length by half of all other scenes of women shown drinking.[4]


Prints are extant in the Library of Congress collection and at the Gosfilmofond Russian State archive.[5][6]


  1. ^ Hal Erickson (2015). "The-Family-Skeleton - Trailer - Cast - Showtimes -". Movies & TV Dept. The New York Times. Baseline & All Movie Guide. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  2. ^ "The Family Skeleton (1918) - Overview -". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 7 January 2015.
  3. ^ "Reviews: The Family Skeleton". Exhibitors Herald. New York City: Exhibitors Herald Company. 6 (15): 27. April 6, 1918.
  4. ^ "Official Cut-Outs by the Chicago Board of Censors". Exhibitors Herald. 6 (13): 29. March 23, 1918.
  5. ^ The Library of Congress / FIAF American Silent Feature Film Survival Catalog: The Family Skeleton
  6. ^ Catalog of Holdings The American Film Institute Collection and The United Artists Collection at The Library of Congress, p. 54, c.1978 by the American Film Institute
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The Family Skeleton
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