May 26 2017

Was Theda Bara’s Film Debut Shot in Petit Trianon in Lake Ronkonkoma?

Silent film star and stage actress Theda Bara (1885-1955) made her film debut at the age of 29 in The Stain in 1914 as an extra. The film was shot in New Jersey and at Petit Trianon, located at the eastern terminus of the Motor Parkway in Lake Ronkonkoma.

Theda's look and amazing eyes caught the attention of director Frank Powell who cast her as the lead in his next film A Fool There Was, which became a major hit.

There are only two known existing prints of The Stain, one in Australia and one in the George Eastman Museum in Rochester.  The Film Study Center of the museum has examined The Stain  for me in hopes of seeing scenes of Petit Trianon. No exterior shots were discovered. However, the interior of Petit Trianon may have been captured in the one or more of the following scenes.


Howard Kroplick


Theda Bara

The Stain


Theda Bara in her film debut in The Stain

Was this scene shot in the Petit Trianon?

Is that Theda Bara on the far right?

Other Interior Scenes from "The Stain". All images courtesy of the Film Study Center of the George Eastman Museum.


May 27 2017 Cathy Ball 10:51 PM

Amazing !  What next, Howard?
Your curiosity keeps us all well-
Fortified with new discoveries.

May 28 2017 Bob DeStefani 7:15 AM

I don’t recall any interior doors with frosted glass or the exposed stud like trim on the walls.

May 28 2017 S. Berliner, III 3:31 PM

That interior is high Victorian; exceedingly unlikely to be Pope’s 1910-11 work.  Just compare the pix to those on your own blogs on the Petit Trianon - vastly different style.  Pope’s was Deco-cum-Moderne.  Sam III

May 29 2017 Joseph DeBono 8:39 AM

Pretty Cool about The Petit Trianon. It would be nice if one of the shots with the fireplace is the Petit. Never saw the Petit, But did see the Annex fireplace but its not the same.

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