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Silent Serial SensationsThe Wharton Brothers and the Magic of Early Cinema$
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Barbara Tepa Lupack

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9781501748189

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: September 2020

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501748189.001.0001

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(p.238) Chapter 15 Heading West
Silent Serial Sensations

Barbara Tepa Lupack

Cornell University Press

This chapter describes how the once close relationship between the Wharton brothers irreparably broke. In late spring of 1919, after he and Ted parted ways, Leo Wharton left New York and headed west—not to Los Angeles but to Texas, which he hoped would become part of a film community that might rival Hollywood. At San Antonio Motion Pictures, he believed that he would have the opportunity to produce the kinds of feature films that he had long wanted to make. The demise of San Antonio Motion Pictures, however, effectively marked the end of Leo's film career. Ted Wharton, who left Ithaca less than a year after his brother Leo did, also traveled west. But whereas Leo had sought fame and success in Texas, Ted moved to Hollywood, which was rapidly evolving into the film capital of the United States. Almost immediately, Universal—by then well known for its popular westerns—hired him to work on the production of The Moon Riders (1920). Sadly, little more is known about the Whartons' final years. Nevertheless, a close examination of their careers restores Ted and Leo Wharton to the classical narrative of early filmmaking and reveals their profound impact on the early serial picture and their influence on later popular genres.

Keywords:   Wharton brothers, Leo Wharton, Hollywood, San Antonio Motion Pictures, feature films, Ted Wharton, early filmmaking, serial picture

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