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J. Stuart Blackton and Albert Smith emerged as important filmmakers and exhibitors in the spring and summer of 1898. When they were caught duping Thomas Edison's copyrighted war films, they seemed to have no choice but to become licensees and acknowledge Edison's patents. With audiences tiring of war films, they used their experience as entertainers and made short comedies and magic films. BURGLAR ON THE ROOF (which features Blackton as the burglar) was shot on the rooftop of their office building in lower Manhattan.

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