Harry W. Gerstad


born August 8, 1886, in Chicago IL
died September 26, 1966, in South Pasadena, CA


The weekly payroll summaries for the Roach studio reveal that Harry Gerstad was the regular Our Gang cameraman from the week ending Jan. 20, 1923, until the week ending Dec. 8, 1923. This fits perfectly with his earliest known credit, "Dogs Of War!" (no. 14) and his last known credit, "Seein' Things" (no. 25). However, the 1922 studio datebook reveals that he was involved to some degree in the shooting of "A Pleasant Journey" (no. 11), inching his earliest known involvement back to October 1922. His name shows up again in the summaries as an Our Gang photographer for the last two weeks of December 1925, indicating that he worked on "Baby Clothes" (no. 49). This filmography is fairly passable up until 1926, when Gerstad suddenly drops off the radar screen. Studio documentation often identifies him as Gerstead or Gerstadt. Incidentally, his son, Harry Donald Gerstad, who was later credited as Harry W. Gerstad, worked as a laboratory assistant at the Roach studio and later was an Oscar-winning film editor.


1911

Gerstad was working for Selig Polyscope by the end of this year as a cameraman. He continued with the company for at least four years.


1912

The Danites (co-photographer)
Feb. 19 & 20, 1912 - Selig/General - 2 reels - Hobart Bosworth series
Released in two parts. Credited as Guy Gerstad.

1914

The Spoilers (co-photographer)
Apr. 11, 1914 - Selig - 9 reels - William Farnum & Kathlyn Williams feature
©Apr. 14, 1914.

1915

It appears that Gerstad left Selig in the latter half of this year, and briefly got involved in the Baby Marie series made by the Balboa Amusement Producing Company.

The Rosary (co-photographer)
June 28, 1915 - Selig/VLSE - 7 reels - Wheeler Oakman & Kathlyn Williams feature
©June 16, 1915. Also listed as a 5 reeler.

1916

During the early part of this year, Gerstad had arrived at the Fox Film Corporation, where he would work as a cameraman for the next three years.

Little Mary Sunshine (photographer)
Mar. 3, 1916 - Balboa/Pathé - 5 reels - Baby Marie Osborne feature
©Mar. 30, 1926. Re-released Mar. 12, 1922, in 3 reels.
The Ne'er-Do-Well (photographer)
Mar. 20, 1916 - Selig/VLSE - 10 reels - Wheeler Oakman & Kathlyn Williams feature
©Dec. 18, 1925. Credited as Harry Gerstad.
The Man From Bitter Roots (co-photographer)
July 3, 1916 - Fox - 5 reels - William Farnum feature
©July 2, 1916.

1917

During this year, Gerstad was largely involved in the 'Fox Kiddies' features.

Jack And The Beanstalk (unconfirmed co-photographer)
July 30, 1917 - Fox - 10 reels - Francis Carpenter & Virginia Lee Corbin feature
©July 30, 1917.
The Babes In The Woods (photographer)
Dec. 2, 1917 - Fox - 5 reels - Francis Carpenter & Virginia Lee Corbin feature
©Dec. 2, 1917.

1918

Treasure Island (co-photographer)
Jan. 27, 1918 - Fox - 6 reels - Francis Carpenter & Virginia Lee Corbin feature
©Nov. 25, 1917. Credited as Harry Gerstad.
Salome (co-photographer)
Oct. 6, 1918 - Fox - 8 reels - Theda Bara feature
©Aug. 10, 1918. Credited as Harry Gerstad.
The Danger Zone (co-photographer)
Dec. 29, 1918 - Fox - 5 reels - Madlaine Traverse feature
©Dec. 29, 1918. Credited as Harry Gersted.

1919

During this year, Gerstad became William Desmond's cameraman of choice, spending the next two years following him through at least four companies, the last of which was Desmond's own.

Gambling In Souls (photographer)
Mar. 9, 1919 - Fox - 5 reels - Madlaine Traverse feature
©Mar. 9, 1919. Credited as Harry Gersted. Also listed as a six reeler.
The Prince And Betty (photographer)
Dec. 21, 1919 - Hampton/Pathé - 5 reels - William Desmond feature
©Jan. 2, 1920. Credited as Harry Gerstad.

1920

Women Men Love (photographer)
Jan. 29, 1920 - Bradley/Film Market - 6 reels - William Desmond feature
Credited as Harry Gerstad.
A Broadway Cowboy (photographer)
July 4, 1920 - Hampton/Pathé - 5 reels - William Desmond feature
©June 3, 1920. Credited as Harry Gerstad.

1921

Gerstad left Desmond during this year to work for Ben Wilson Productions, where he would stay for about a year.

The Parish Priest (photographer)
Feb. 5, 1921 - Garfield - 6 reels - William Desmond feature
Premiered Dec. 1920. Credited as Harry Gersted.
Fightin' Mad (photographer)
Nov. 20, 1921 - Desmond/Metro - 6 reels - William Desmond feature
©Dec. 7, 1921. Credited as Harry Gersted.
The Innocent Cheat (photographer)
Dec. 26, 1921 - Wilson/Arrow - 6 reels - Peter B. Kyne feature
©Jan. 6, 1922. Credited as Harry Gersted. Featuring Roy Stewart.

1922

Gerstad left Wilson and joined Hal Roach Studios by mid-year, serving as a camera assistant on the Harold Lloyd unit. Gerstad's earliest verified Our Gang involvement was for "A Pleasant Journey" (no. 11) in late October, for which he shot preliminary footage with director Robert McGowan while the main cast and crew were still working on the previous film in the series.

Chain Lightning (photographer)
Apr. 25, 1922 - Wilson/Arrow - 5 reels
©Apr. 11, 1922. Credited as Harry Gerstad.

1923

Gerstad's earliest known onscreen Our Gang credit was for "Dogs Of War!" (no. 14), which began filming in January of this year. Starting the week ending Jan. 20th, Len Powers began to direct the Dippy Doo Dads series and Gerstad became the official cameraman of the Our Gang series. He held this position until the week ending Dec. 8th. Gerstad's involvement can be verified for only five of the thirteen films made during this stretch, but it's likely that he photographed all of them, at least in part. The only other verified photographer during this stretch is R. E. Irish, who worked on "Tire Trouble" (no. 22). After the primary filming for "Commencement Day" (no. 26), Gerstad seems to have left the Roach studio for as much as a year and a half.

11. A Pleasant Journey (photographer)
Mar. 18, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-11 - Our Gang series
Also listed for Mar. 25, 1923. Filmed Oct. 22 to 27, and Nov. 2 to 16, 1922. ©Feb. 26, 1923. The 1922 studio datebook reveals that Gerstad (listed as Gerstead) served as cameraman on some footage directed by Robert McGowan, but without the regular Our Gang cast and crew, which was busy making "Boys To Board" (no. 10) at the time. Gerstad was specifically credited on Oct. 22nd and 24th, but probably also worked on the 25th, 26th and 27th. The rest of the shooting dates, with the regular cast and crew, probably involved regular cameraman Len Powers.
Safety Last! (camera assistant)
Apr. 1, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 7 reels - prod. L-17 - Harold Lloyd feature
Filmed July 15 to Oct. 18, 1922, with retakes Oct. 23, Nov. 29, and Dec. 1, 1922. ©Jan. 25, 1923. Added to the National Film Registry on Nov. 14, 1994.
12. Giants Vs. Yanks (co-photographer)
May 13, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-12 - Our Gang series
Filmed Nov. 20 to Dec. 19, 1922, and Feb. 15, 1923. ©Apr. 27, 1923. According to the weekly payroll summaries, Gerstad was the official Our Gang photographer during February 1923.
14. Dogs Of War! (photographer)
July 1, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-14 - Our Gang series
Premiered June 10, 1923. Filmed Jan. 12 to Feb. 10, 1923, with retakes Feb. 20 to 23, and Apr. 11, 1923. ©July 19, 1923.
15. Lodge Night (photographer)
July 29, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-15 - Our Gang series
Filmed Feb. 12 to Mar. 3, 1923. ©Aug. 2, 1923.
18. July Days (photographer)
Aug. 26, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-18 - Our Gang series
Filmed Mar. 11, Apr. 12 to May 2, and May 31, 1923. ©Aug. 2, 1923. This credit is based on Gerstad's payroll status as the Our Gang cameraman during this period.
20. No Noise (photographer)
Sep. 23, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-20 - Our Gang series
Filmed June 1 to 20, 1923. ©Sep. 24, 1923. This credit is based on Gerstad's payroll status as the Our Gang cameraman during this period.
17. Stage Fright (photographer)
Oct. 21, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-17 - Our Gang series
Filmed Mar. 17 to Apr. 11, 1923, with retakes June 21 to July 2, 1923. ©Nov. 9, 1923. This credit is based on Gerstad's payroll status as the Our Gang cameraman during this period.
21. Derby Day (photographer)
Nov. 18, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-21 - Our Gang series
Filmed July 18 to Aug. 13, 1923. ©Nov. 9, 1923.
19. Sunday Calm (photographer)
Dec. 16, 1923 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-19 - Our Gang series
Filmed May 4 to 29, 1923, with retakes July 2 to 14, and Oct. 2, 1923. ©Dec. 24, 1923. This credit is based on Gerstad's payroll status as the Our Gang cameraman during this period.

1924

At some point during this year, Gerstad wound up at the Mack Sennett studio, but I've verified only one film between January 1924 and June 1925.

22. Tire Trouble (co-photographer)
Jan. 13, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-22 - Our Gang series
Filmed Aug. 14 to Sep. 4, 1923. ©Dec. 24, 1923. This credit is based on Gerstad's payroll status as the Our Gang cameraman during this period. It's probable that R. E. Irish did the photography for five days during the middle week of shooting.
23. Big Business (photographer)
Feb. 10, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-23 - Our Gang series
Filmed Sep. 11 to 21, 1923. ©Jan. 26, 1924. This credit is based on Gerstad's payroll status as the Our Gang cameraman during this period.
24. The Buccaneers (photographer)
Mar. 9, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-24 - Our Gang series
Filmed Sep. 28 to Oct. 24, and Oct. 28, 1923. ©Feb. 20, 1924.
25. Seein' Things (photographer)
Apr. 6, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-25 - Our Gang series
Filmed Oct. 25 to Nov. 7, and Dec. 19, 1923, and Jan. 7, 1924. ©May 12, 1924. Maltin & Bann list him as Harry V. Gerstad for this film.
26. Commencement Day (co-photographer)
May 4, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-26 - Our Gang series
Filmed Nov. 9 to Dec. 6, 1923, Jan. 7 to 11, and Jan. 26, 1924. ©May 12, 1924. This credit is based on Gerstad's payroll status as the Our Gang cameraman during this period. This does not apply to the January date, which probably involved a different photographer.
16. Fast Company (co-photographer)
Nov. 16, 1924 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. A-16 - Our Gang series
Filmed Mar. 5 to 15, 1923, with retakes June 13 to 21, 1924. ©Oct. 2, 1924. This credit is based on Gerstad's payroll status as the Our Gang cameraman during most of 1923, when the initial shooting for this film took place. The 1924 shooting dates most likely involved Art Lloyd and Robert Doran.

1925

By June of this year, Gerstad was back with Roach, where he remained for over a year. It appears that he was given miscellaneous jobs as a cameraman, as though his duty was to fill in when the regular cameraman was absent. Very briefly in December, he was listed in the payroll summaries as an Our Gang cameraman.

Honeymoon Hardships (co-photographer)
Jan. 25, 1925 - Sennett/Pathé - 2 reels
©Dec. 26, 1924.
Moonlight And Noses (co-photographer)
Oct. 4, 1925 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. C-3 - Clyde Cook series
Filmed June 9 to 20, 1925, with retakes July 6, 1925. ©Aug. 20, 1925.
Laughing Ladies (co-photographer)
Nov. 29, 1925 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. S-5 - All Star series
According to Rob Stone's list, this was filmed July 21 to Aug. 4, 1925, and miniatures on Aug. 12 and 15, 1925. According to his book, Laurel Or Hardy, it was filmed June 21 to 31, Aug. 1 to 4, and Aug. 13 and 15, 1925. ©Nov. 6, 1925. Credited as Harry Gerstadt.

1926

After the summer of this year, Gerstad's career becomes a mystery for about three years.

Charley My Boy (photographer)
Jan. 24, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. B-4 - Charley Chase series
Filmed Sep. 28 to Oct. 9, 1925. ©Jan. 23, 1926. UK title: Charlie, My Boy.
Wife Tamers (uncredited co-photographer)
Mar. 28, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. C-8 - Clyde Cook series
According to Rob Stone's list, this was filmed Dec. 2 to 10, 1925 with added scenes Jan. 4 and 6, 1926. In his book, he revises it to Dec. 2 to 9, 1925, without mentioning added scenes. ©Mar. 15, 1926.
Madame Mystery (uncredited co-photographer)
Apr. 18, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. S-8 - All Star series with Theda Bara
According to Rob Stone's list, this was filmed Dec. 1 to 24, 1925, but according to his book, filming began on the 10th. ©Mar. 15, 1926. Foreign version released in 5 reels.
49. Baby Clothes (co-photographer)
Apr. 25, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. K-7 - Our Gang series
Filmed Dec. 7 to 20, 1925, with retakes Jan. 11, 1926. ©Mar. 15, 1926. Art Lloyd was the credited photographer, but the studio payroll summaries reveal that Gerstad was an Our Gang photographer during the week ending Dec. 19th and part of the week ending Dec. 26th. It's likely that he was the cameraman from Dec. 14th until the end of shooting.
Say It With Babies (uncredited co-photographer)
May 16, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. H-6 - Glenn Tryon series
Filmed Jan. 21 to Feb. 16, 1926, with retakes Feb. 21 and Mar. 22, 1926. ©May 17, 1926. Gerstad was involved only on March 22nd.
He Forgot To Remember (uncredited co-photographer)
June 6, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. C-1 - Clyde Cook series
Filmed Mar. 27 to Apr. 19, 1925, with retakes May 25 to 29, 1925, and Jan. 28 to 29, 1926. ©May 26, 1926. Gerstad was involved only on the January 1926 dates.
The Cow's Kimono (photographer)
June 20, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. H-7 - Glenn Tryon series
Filmed Mar. 2 to 19, 1926, with added scenes Apr. 5 and 18, 1926. ©July 26, 1926.
Never Too Old (co-photographer)
June 27, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. S-9 - All Star series with Claude Gillingwater.
Filmed Jan. 11 to 27, 1926. ©Apr. 28, 1926. Gerstad worked everyday except Jan. 18th, and probably received sole credit.
Should Husbands Pay? (co-photographer)
Sep. 5, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. C-10 - All Star series
Filmed Apr. 19 to May 5, 1926. ©July 26, 1926. Gerstad received sole credit.
Wise Guys Prefer Brunettes (co-photographer)
Oct. 3, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. S-12 - All Star series
Filmed May 14 to June 2, 1926, with added scenes June 7, 1926. ©Sep. 17, 1926. Gerstad received sole credit.
Get 'Em Young (co-photographer)
Oct. 31, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 2 reels - prod. S-13 - All Star series with Harry Myers
Filmed June 19 to July 2, and Aug. 5, 1926. ©Oct. 26, 1926. Gerstad received sole credit.
Raggedy Rose (uncredited co-photographer)
Nov. 7, 1926 - Roach/Pathé - 3 reels - prod. S-11 - Mabel Normand series
Filmed Mar. 15 to Apr. 2, 1926, with retakes Apr. 15 to 17, 1926. Originally production C-9. ©Oct. 26, 1926. Previewed as a 4-reeler, and released in five reels for foreign markets. Gerstad worked as a second unit cameraman from Mar. 23rd to 26th.

1929

The last evidence I have for Gerstad's association with Roach is from the fall of this year. After that, he seems to have either left the film business, or moved into a field that didn't result in onscreen credits.

1930

95. Shivering Shakespeare (uncredited co-photographer)
Jan. 25, 1930 - Roach/MGM - 2 reels - prod. G-29 - Our Gang series
Filmed Sep. 30 to Oct. 12, 1929. ©Dec. 17, 1929. Listed in studio documentation as Gerstead.

© Robert Demoss.


My thanks to the following people for assisting with this page:
Rob Stone (for providing production numbers and shooting dates)


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