PORTLAND, Maine — It’s a long way from Middle Street to Hollywood. It’s even longer if you make a round trip. That’s just what Hiram Abrams did.

The son of a Jewish immigrant from Poland, Abrams parlayed a Munjoy Hill paper route into a short-lived — and turbulent — career as one of tinseltown’s first moguls. Along the way, he produced hit movies with the biggest silent screen stars of the day including Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford.

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Abrams also faced scandal when he got caught in a crooked Massachusetts district attorney’s late-night sting operation. In the end, he decided to leave his high-pressure, movie-making life behind and come back to Maine for good. Which he did, sort of. It’s a complicated story.

Take a walk into history as the BDN teams up with Greater Portland Landmarks in telling Abrams’ colorful story. It’s one of many included in the nonprofit’s series of online, virtual walking tours throughout the city.

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Founded in response to the urban renewal craze of the 1960s, the nonprofit works to protect historic places through preservation and adaptive reuse. It also promotes creative, new architecture for historic neighborhoods.

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Troy R. Bennett

Troy R. Bennett is a Buxton native and longtime Portland resident whose photojournalism has appeared in media outlets all over the world.