WAY BACK WHEN . . . Then . . . Now

Essanay Film and Television was formed in San Francisco in the late 1960's. Two cameramen, Charlie Stanyan, a documentarian, and Kenneth Allan, a Movietone Newsreeler, wanted to make films for education and industry. The two men couldn't decide what to call the company: "Stanyan and Allan?" "Allan and Stanyan?"

They discovered that their initials were a fit with the then-defunct "Essanay Film Company" which had originated in Chicago. It had been one of the first movie companies in California. Essanay produced Charlie Chaplin's early "Tramp" films and countless Westerns by director, star and owner of "The Face Known 'Round the World," Bronco Billy Anderson. Studios and locations were based in Niles, California, a small town east of the San Francisco Bay. Ken Allan had worked as an extra in Essanay films as a child actor.

family on set
Ken, Mark and Milana Allan on the set of the "China Smith" television series in the early 1950's.  Milana worked as a script supervisor, Ken was on the executive board of the IATSE.

Stanyan and Allan adopted the Essanay name in 1967. The next year Charlie Stanyan retired. Ken Allan took over the business and operated it with his wife Milana Allan.


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