“My Big Brother, James Cruze”

by May Cruze (1891-1965)



This book, written by the sister of James Cruze, walks us through the entire history of American show business, from back yard skits, though the vaudeville period, the New York stage, on into silent films as James becomes a coveted actor, and finally as a world famous director.

He traveled by horse, freight trains, the newly invented auto, and actually did walk from San Jose to San Francisco in pursuit of his vow to make a flour sack full of money, his childhood goal.

At his peak he won the equivalent of today’s Oscar and directed the most successful and awe-inspiring movies of his day, “The Covered Wagon” and “Old Ironsides” among many, which are still awe inspiring today.

His “flour sack” overflowed, allowing him to purchase many Hollywood properties and a 12 acre Hacienda in nearby Flintridge where his hospitality, during the prohibition, became famous and attracted ageless icons like Houdini, Einstein, Charlie Chaplin,  Howard Hughes, and of course, all the beautiful actresses and wealthy followers of the day.

His creative and powerful personality carried him through many incredible adventures including the hardships of his life as a pioneer Mormon farm child.

One of his two full-blooded sisters and trusted confidant, actress May Cruze, passed away in 1965. Leaving this book and her other writings and pictures entrusted to her nephew’s wife, Janie, also an entertainer, to preserve and market. It was lost in the storm of a divorce and many years of struggling and finally unearthed again by Janie’s son, Ken Morris, in a storage box. 

Ken and his mother, with a modern computer, a scanner and an OCS program, are now bringing this story to light. Much of the information about James Cruze found on the internet is actually wrong as explained by his sister/author, using a 1950’s typewriter, as she tells us secrets heretofore unknown about that Hollywood legend, James Cruze, her fascinating “Big Brother.”







© 2007 Kenneth Morris 

Digital conversion by Janie Morris Tate