Annabelle's Serpentine Dance (1894), dir. William K.L. Dickson, William Heise
Dancer Annabelle Moore (born Annabella Whitford in Chicago and adopted by William Moore of 207 West 40th Street, Manhattan) was 15 when Edison released the first of four Edison peep show (Kinetoscope) movie versions of Annabelle's Serpentine Dance in 1894.
When, in 1897, she turned down a proposition to bare herself at a 5th Avenue stag party, Annabella unexpectedly made her fortune and vaulted to celebrity. Serpentine Dance print prices quadrupled from $10 to $40.
By 1900, she was performing on Broadway in Olga Nethersole's Sappho, offering no testimony when The New York Society for the Suppression of Vice induced the district attorney to shut down the show for alleged indecency. (A jury acquitted the producers).
A decade of grease paint followed. She played princes and dancers in Broadway productions, sang and danced "The Gibson Bathing Girl" in the Ziegfeld's Follies of 1907, finished off with The Happiest Night of His Life and The Charity Girl in 1911-12, and retired from the stage back in Chicago when she married a physician, Edward James Buchan.
From Ziegfeld Follies of 1911 Billy Murray & Ada Jones sing "Be My Little Baby Bumble Bee"
By 1957—sixty years after Annabelle first hit the newspapers—she and her husband were news again. She told that saddest and most eternal of tales...they were destitute, forgotten.