Guest Videos: The Geologist Who Lunged At Douglas Fairbanks With A Sword

Volcanology and seismology are the geological fields most of us think of when we hear the word “geologist,” but there is much more to it.

However, this is usually not the sort of work that captures the public imagination:

Sometimes, though, the stars align even for the humble field geologist.


This story is from a Douglas Fairbanks biography I read years ago–it was either the Vance, Maretta, Cushman one or the excellent Doug and Mary by Gary Carey. Neither book is available now, unfortunately, and I can’t look up this lucky geologist’s name.

He was working in oil fields somewhere in the Los Angeles area in the early 1920s. Apparently the work load was light one day, and he decided to check out a movie production down the road (scroll down)–Robin Hood, with Douglas Fairbanks.

Fairbanks ran a very relaxed set, and he met this geologist, got into conversation with him, and offered him a small part in the movie. The extended scene is below: the sequence that was being filmed that day was a bad guy–our geologist–running out of a doorway and lunging at Fairbanks’ character, but you should also see the whole thing, which involves Doug singlehandedly storming the castle to save Maid Marian:

By the way, that bad guy–superbly played by Paul Dickey–is about to slug Maid Marian before raping her, and Robin Hood eventually kills him by wrapping him around a pillar and breaking his back.

They did not mess around in the silent era. And they conveyed all of this profound evil and horror without graphic violence.

It was an interesting time.

Especially for a field geologist one day.

Featured image: Wikimedia

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