Santa Clarita Valley History In Pictures
> WILLIAM S. HART
"The Border Wireless"
Starring William S. Hart
William S. Hart in The Border Wireless
Click image to enlarge | Download original composite scan

THE BORDER WIRELESS

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Lantern Slide

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Rialto Premiere 9/29/1918

Detail
ABOVE: Closeup of Hart's leather arm guard. Click to enlarge.
BELOW: Readers George Goodchild and Tamara Kroencke determined that it was made by the S.C. (for Samuel Caldwell) Gallup Saddle Co. of Pueblo, Colorado. S.C. Gallup used this mark in the early 1900s.
Detail

Magic lantern slide advertising the 1918 William S. Hart vehicle, "The Border Wireless," from Artcraft Pictures, a Famous Players-Lasky company.

Glass, paper, and tape, 3¼x4 inches (standard size), by the Excelsior Illustrating Company of New York City. Lantern slides were the movie trailers of their day.

In keeping with Hart's typical bad man-turns-good trope, writer C. Gardner Sullivan has created a protagonist who is on the run from the law when he discovers that he has run right into a nest of German spies at the U.S.-Mexico border. The spies are sending wireless (radio) messages to Berlin. Hart's character holds the spies at bay until the Army arrives, and he even gets the girl in the end.

"The Border Wireless" premiered on Broadway September 29, 1918, about six weeks shy of the end of real-life World War I. It was released for general distribution about a week after the premiere.

Apparently the film no longer exists.


About "The Border Wireless."

From Koszarski (1980:98):

Produced by William S. Hart Productions; advertised as "supervised by Thomas H. Ince;" distributed by Paramount-Artcraft; released October 8, 1918; © September 10, 1918; five reels (4353 feet).

Directed by William S. Hart; screenplay by C. Gardner Sullivan from a story by Howard E. Morton; photographed by Joe August; art director, Thomas A. Brierley; art titles by Irwin J. Martin.

CAST: William S. Hart (Steve Ransom); Wanda Hawley (Elsa Miller); Charles Arling (Herman Brandt); James Mason (Carl Miller); E. von Ritzen (Frederick Schloss); Bertholde Sprotte (Von Helm); Marcia Manon (Esther Meier).

SYNOPSIS: German agents have put up a wireless at Magdalene mine, where they send code messages into Mexico and thence to Berlin. Brandt, one of the agents, suspects Steve Ransom, a cow-puncher, of too great loyalty to the United States and investigates his record. He finds that Steve is a fugitive from justice and wires to the army post where Steve has gone to enlist. Steve overhears the officer taking the message and escapes. He wishes to say goodbye to his sweetheart before leaving the community and makes a daring try. On the way he finds a messenger who has been thrown from his horse and who while in a semi-conscious state overheard Brandt and his conspirators plotting to send a wireless to sink the boat on which General Pershing and his staff are sailing. With the girl who has discovered the messenger's riderless horse and come to his rescue, Steve goes to the Magdalene mine and holds the German spies at bay until relief comes from the army post. He also wins the girl. [Exhibitor's Trade Review, September 28, 1918]

REVIEWS: Timely subject matter of a sensational nature and a new characterization by Hart will carry this picture over to success. Still an outlaw, a price on his head for manslaughter, Hart is grim-visaged only at intense moments. He actually smiles and conducts himself during courtship with a rare sense of humor, instead of taking himself too seriously. ... [Louis Reeves Harrison, Moving Picture World, October 12, 1918.]

William S. Hart needs a change of subjects. The sameness of his pictures is beginning to tell. ... Why does not Hart turn his faithful horse out to pasture for an indefinite period, hang up his sombrero and six-shooters, put on store clothes — even a dress suit — and go in for another type of drama? ... So fine an actor, so forceful a personality would carry his following with him even though stripped of all his familiar trappings. ... Largely because of Hart's great success in Western pictures, that kind of photoplay has been done almost to death. He has had a host of imitators ... there have been so many features of this kind that they are beginning to pall. Only one of exceptional merit now gives the old thrill, and they are few and far between. [S. M. Weller, New York Review, August 1918.]


LW3488: 9600 dpi jpeg from magic lantern slide purchased 2019 by Leon Worden.
HART CATEGORIES:
• Stage Career
• Hart Films
• Publicity Photos
• Hart as Author
• WWI War Bonds
• Hart Mansion
• Hart in Retirement
• Personal Life
• Hart in Artwork

WILLIAM S. HART FILMS

WATCH FULL MOVIES
Keno Bates, Liar (1915)
Knight of the Trail (1915)
The Ruse (1915)
The Cradle of Courage (1920)
White Oak (1921)
Tumbleweeds (1925/1939)
ALSO:
Farewell to the Screen, from Tumbleweeds Re-release (1939)


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Biography
(Mitchell 1955)

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Biography
(Conlon/McCallum 1960)

Essay: The Good Bad Man (Griffith & Mayer 1957)


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Film Bio, Russia 1926

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The Disciple 1915/1923

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The Captive God 1916 x2

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The Aryan 1916 x2

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The Primal Lure 1916

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The Apostle of Vengeance (Mult.)

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Return of Draw Egan 1916 x2

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Truthful Tulliver 1917

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The Gun Fighter 1917 Theater Invoice

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Wolf Lowry 1917

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The Narrow Trail 1917 (mult.)

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Riddle Gawne 1918 x2

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"A Bullet for Berlin" 1918 (4th Series)

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The Border Wireless 1918 x2

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Branding Broadway 1918 x2

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Breed of Men 2-2-1919 Rivoli Premiere

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The Poppy Girl's Husband 3-23-1919 Rivoli Premiere

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The Money Corral 4-20-1919 Rialto Premiere

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Square Deal Sanderson 1919

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Wagon Tracks 1919 x3

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Sand 1920 Lantern Slide Image

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The Toll Gate 1920 x4

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The Cradle of Courage 1920

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The Testing Block 1920: Slides, Lobby Cards, Photos (Multiple)

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O'Malley/Mounted 1921 (Mult.)

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The Whistle 1921 (Mult.)

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White Oak 1921 (Mult.)

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Travelin' On 1921/22

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Three Word Brand 1921

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Wild Bill Hickok 1923 x2

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Singer Jim McKee 1924 (Mult.)

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"Tumbleweeds" 1925/1939

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