R.M. Chisholm


R.M. Chisholm was a wealthy New Orleanian who made his money from the oil field industry.

Interstate Oil, Gas, and Development Company

The Interstate Oil, Gas, and Development Company was established in 1912 with a 60,000 dollar investment and land donations by Chisholm and W.L. Wright. By 1919, the Alabama based company was under investigation by the State Supreme Court because its capital investors, including Chisolm, were embezzling money in the form of paying themselves much larger salaries than the company could afford, as well as selling stock at large discounts in order to collect commission that was much larger than that chartered by the company. [1] .

Diamond Theater

Throughout the time of this investigation, Chisholm began his investment in movies. Chisholm bought the deed to a theater located on the corner of Iberville and Burgundy in the Downtown, New Orleans. He named it Diamond Theater, and in 1917, became one of the primary investors in Diamond Film Company. Under the leadership of Arthur Leopold, Chisholm’s lawyer in the Interstate, Oil, Gas, and Development Company, the company collected 100,000 dollars worth of investment money to begin their entrepreneurial venture. Chisholm was named founder and president of Diamond Film Company in the summer of 1917.

In June of 1918, Chisholm stepped down as president, “owing press to another business.” Shortly after, he sold Diamond Theater. The speculation of why Chisholm sold the theater and stepped down were thought to be solved when news of the law suit became public knowledge and Chisholm quickly acquired 60 acres of land in the Terrebone Oil Fields along with a deposit of several thousand dollars cash shortly thereafter. Chisholm’s involvement with Diamond was similar to that of his other entrepreneurial investments. His time with Diamond ended abruptly at the foot of speculation of illegal activity, yet his investments were protected and it seems as though he profited from his time in the movie business.

Motion Picture Patents Company

Chisholm wasn’t ready to get involved with another law suit as the Edison Trust, also known as the Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC), was beginning to be unraveled up North. Chisholm and his Diamond partners had been traveling back and forth between New Orleans and New York to try and get distribution for their film, something W.M. Hannon couldn’t do. However, the MPPC had the wrong motives, similar to the speculation of the motives of these big businessmen. “The MPPC was formed for altruistic purposes. As a capitalist enterprise the MPPC was designed to maximize profits. Ending the chaos which engulfed the film industry became the means to guarantee the desired ends – increased profits and stability.” [2]

  • “The Decisions of the Supreme and Appellate Courts of Alabama, and the Supreme Courts of Florida, Louisiana, and Mississippi.” The Southern Reporter 82, no. July 12 – November 22, 1919 (1920): 202-04.
  • Anderson, Robert. “The American Film Industry “ The Motion Picture Patents Company: A Reevaluation, p. 141. Madison, WI: The University of Wisconsin Press, 1985.

This page was last modified on 03 May 2012, at 11:52


Diamond Theater


Diamond Film Company Studios

1347 Moss St. New Orleans, LA 70119