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.
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.