Thursday, March 14, 2013

Breezy, the Littlest Cowboy

Ben-Hur would be nothing without its climactic chariot race, and that race would've been nothing without second unit director B. Reeves Eason.  His technical precision (using 42 cameras to film it) elevated it from mere action scene to nailbiting classic.

Like most people in the business, Eason started as an actor, and he had a son who, for a short time, followed in his footsteps.

(image courtesy Wikipedia)

B. Reeves Eason Jr, known as "Breezy" onscreen, was born on November 19, 1914.  An adorable, tousled-haired boy, he was featured in movies alongside Theda Bara and Thomas Meighan -- but his real specialty was Westerns, where he was billed as "Universal's Littlest Cowboy".

(Photoplay, March 1921, courtesy the MHDL)

It was right after completing one such Western, "The Fox" with Harry Carey, that Breezy was hit by a truck while playing right outside his home.

Allan Ellenberger recounts the tragic details:

Harry Carey was notified about the accident shortly after it happened. [...] Carey and Breezy had appeared in two films together and the actor had become very attached to the youngster. When he heard about the accident, Carey left the filming and raced to the hospital to be with Breezy.

For the next four days, Carey never left the hospital or Breezy’s side, holding his hand until the end. Despite the surgeons attempt, little Breezy died from his injuries on Tuesday, October 25, 1921. [Allan Ellenberger, "Breezy Eason Jr at Hollywood Forever", HOLLYWOODLAND]

Universal shut down the day of his funeral. 

(Photoplay, January 1922, courtesy the MHDL)

 Little Breezy was a month shy of his seventh birthday.  


Caftan Woman said...

What a tragedy. Somehow you always feel your children will be safe at home, but fate can be so cruel.

FlickChick said...

Wahh! Oh, that is so sad. So nice that Breezy is still remembered. Good stuff.