This Week In Film History, 11-29-09

December 1, 1903: Edwin S. Porter’s The Great Train Robbery, the first motion picture to use intercutting scenes to form a unified narrative, is released.

December 2, 1910: Hefty funnyman John Bunny, the cinema’s first comedy star, makes his debut in Vitagraph’s Jack Fat and Jim Slim at Coney Island.

December 4, 1924: Greed, previewed in a nine-hour, 42-reel version earlier in the year, opens in a studio-mandated 10-reel cut that director Erich von Stroheim disavows.

December 4, 1925: A bureau known as the Central Casting Corporation is set up by the major Hollywood studios as a pool of extras available to film productions.

December 1, 1938: The first movie with an “all-midget cast,” the B-western The Terror of Tiny Town, opens to a Lilliputian box office.

November 30, 1942: B-western star Buck Jones dies from injuries sustained in a Nov. 28 fire at Boston’s Cocoanut Grove nightclub that claimed 491 lives.

November 30, 1947: The director whose glossy costume dramas and romantic comedies were marked by “That Lubitsch Touch,” German-born Ernst Lubitsch, dies at 55.

November 30, 1952: Though decades old, 3-D films catch a wave of popularity with the American public, beginning with United Artists’ Bwana Devil.

December 5, 1976: The first film to take advantage of Garret Brown’s Steadicam, a device which stabilizes handheld cameras, Bound for Glory, is released.

December 6, 1979: A decade after the TV show left the airwaves, Star Trek: The Motion Picture opens and gives new life to the Enterprise crew.

November 30, 1981: Actress Natalie Wood, 43, dies in a mysterious drowning accident off her and husband Robert Wagner‘s yacht.