FLGenWeb Digital Library and Archives
Miami-Dade Co. Biographies
Bevis, Ted J.
Transcribed from: The History of Florida: Past & Present, The Lewis Publishing Co., Vol.
III, page 371, 1923.
BEVIS, TED J. is builder and manager of the Miami Studios, Incorporated, at Hialeah in Dade
County. These studios represent the very last word in all the technical facilities for the
production of moving picture films. Apart from the magnitude of the interests involved with
relation to the future of this section of Florida, it is interesting to note that Mr. BEVIS
is a pioneer in the moving picture industry, and that he was connected with the building of
one of the first American moving picture studios, which was also located in Florida. For
a number of years he was at the great seat of the industry in Southern California, but
recently returned to Florida.
Mr. BEVIS is a native of Cincinnati, and since early youth has been engaged continuously in
amusement enterprises. He was in the regular theatrical business and his individual
experience enables him to speak of the historians of the moving picture industry. Beginning
in 1894, he was an associate of Col. WILLIAM N. SELIG, to whom he pays a glowing tribute as
the great outstanding character in the history of moving pictures. It was Colonel Selig
who first conceived the idea of making pictures of objects in motion. His first achievements
along this line were brought about by the use of a battery of forty-nine cameras operating
in rapid-fire succession. Out of this he developed a single camera, which was at first of
great bulk, weighing about 400 pounds. These first experiments took place in Mr. Selig's
studio in Chicago about 1894. Edison and other inventors taking up the idea, the cinematograph
made rapid strides, but it was fully ten years after the crude processes evolved by Colonel
Selig that the motion picture industry was established on a commercial scale.
It was in the fall of 1908 that Mr. BEVIS came to Florida with Colonel Selig and superintended
the construction of South Jacksonville as one of the first moving picture studios built for
the picturization of stories and dramas. After a season's work at Jacksonville Mr. BEVIS
followed the Selig organization to Southern California, and at Santa Monica built one of the
first studios in that state. This was the beginning of the great industry that has meant
so much for Southern California. During succeeding years Mr. BEVIS built twelve other
important studios in California.
The fourteenth studio he has built is the one at the new town of Hialeah, near Miami. He
arrived here July 1, 1921. Hialeah was founded by the Curtiss-Bright Ranch organization.
Soon after arriving Mr. BEVIS began the construction and equipment of the plant for the
Miami Studios, Incorporated, a company fostered by Glenn Curtiss and associates, principally
composed of prominent and wealthy citizens of Miami. The first units of this plant were
completed and placed in operation in the summer of 1922. The plans provide eventually for
six building of the size of the present main studio, sufficient to take care of fifteen or
twenty big operating and producing companies.
Transcribed by Nancy Rayburn
©2010 Fran Smith
This page presented August 14, 2010