Helen Gibson got into film during the time when movies were silent and cameras were cranked. Long before certain individuals on a movie set would be called to double for an actor or actress. Long before a stuntwomen learned the trade in a special school. Helen learned that skill on the job and through her instincts.

In a career of leaping from a moving car to a moving train, or from a moving horse to a moving train, accidents would happen. They did, but not in Helen’s case, because she was smart. She wore no harness or protective devices in her fifty-one year career.

Many journalists and film historians wrote about what they thought was her most dangerous stunt. For example: Traveling at full speed on a motorcycle as she pursued a runaway freight train, she rode through a wooden gate, shattering it completely, up a station platform, and through the open doors of a boxcar on a siding, with her machine traveling through the air until it landed on a flatcar in a passing train.

But Helen disagreed. “I did it in A Girl’s Grit, doubling for Helen Holmes. The distance between station roof and train top was accurately measured, and I practiced the jump with the train standing still. The train had to be moving on camera for about a quarter of a mile and its accelerating velocity was timed to the second. I was not nervous as the train approached, and leapt without hesitation. I landed right, but the train’s motion made me roll toward the end of the car…”

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