It would seem that the great Harry Reichenbach invested a great deal of time building up relationships with various novice firemen in the early part of his career in New York. He spent time with the reluctant heroes, coaxing some fantastic tales out of them by persuading them to recount their experiences. Harry quickly built up a mental library of disaster stories that surrounded some of the more spectacular fires that they had to deal with. Harry later used this bank of tall tales when he had an established career in movies.
Harry also encouraged a number of film makers to shoot footage of some of their most hell-raising incidents, the rushes of which later went on to form the basis of popular movies. The stories and the movie plots were integrated simultaneously into the newspapers to help promotion.
A silent comedy film called “Cutey Becomes a Landlord ” was one of the earliest examples of this ploy. Real life footage was shot and then spun out to hype the release of the short. The storyline was about a hapless property-owner who would set fire to his own apartments. The selected properties rented by tenants who were in arrears, were set alight as a spectacular method of punishing the poor lodgers. In real life the insane fire-starter was later executed after being convicted for starting an inferno which killed two of his debting tenants.