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Crossed Wires, A Telephone Tragedy (June 29, 1915)

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Exiled to Shanghai
 

Released on June 29, 1915: A dying woman calls the police to say who killed her but a mistake by the telephone operator causes the wrong person to be accused.

Produced by Edwin Thanhouser

Directed by Frederick Sullivan

The Actors: Inda Palmer (Mrs. Grayson), J. Morris Foster (Will Drake), Florence La Badie (Flo Drake), Boyd Marshall (Benton), Ina Hammer (Susan Watson), Morgan Jones (unknown), Ernest C. Warde (unknown)

 
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Sorry . . . wrong number . . . you die!

As I write this in 2013, shortly after a record-breaking internet online shopping weekend after the Thanksgiving holiday, I must tell you about a gal I know who refuses to shop online, and is in fear of technology to the point that she will not own a bank card . . . all of her banking transactions are done in person at a teller window. She writes checks but will not use a credit card either, citing news stories about people being cheated out of their money via online and other fraudulent means. It does no good to explain that the overwhelming majority of people never lose a penny to online or other credit card related fraud . . . she will not have any of it. Back in 1915 telephones were still very new and rare and only found in big city homes of the wealthy . . . for the rest of the country they were things of story and mystery. In every age there are many 'doom and gloom' people . . . I'm sure you know a few . . . who will warn you about bad things that include everything from the water you drink to the food you eat and the toys you play with. In 1915 when this fifteen minute story about a telephone tragedy is filmed, I'm sure that many folk left the theater telling their friends, "I told you so, these newfangled inventions will be the death of us all . . . cows will jump over the moon before I get one of those danged things in my house!" Old lady Grayson makes out a will leaving most of her money to her nephew, and a sizable chunk to her housekeeper Susan. Now, Susan the housekeeper is an evil old bag, and she poisons Mrs. Grayson with a bad cup of coffee, and when the dying old gal picks up her phone to call the cops, she is disconnected in mid sentence and the cops think that she is telling them that her killer is her nephew Will, who is sitting at home minding his own business, unaware that the housekeeper Susan has killed Aunt Grayson. After a quick trial Will is sentenced to death while housekeeper and killer Susan is home with all the money. Phones are evil, I tell you . . . pure evil . . . no good will come of all of these newfangled inventions . . . next thing you know they'll be showing movies in your house in little boxes plugged into the wall or something . . . the devil himself is probably in it . . . you just wait and see! Pop a big bowl of white kernel popcorn with plenty of warm melted butter on it and enjoy the show.

Boyd Marshall gets the wrong call
Boyd Marshall gets the mysterious wrong call
Boyd Marshall meets Florence La Badie
Boyd Marshall meets Florence La Badie
Boyd Marshall on the telephone
Boyd Marshall on the telephone

Florence La Badie and Boyd Marshall
Florence La Badie and Boyd Marshall

Florence La Badie, Inda Palmer and J. Morris Foster
Florence La Badie, Inda Palmer and J. Morris Foster
Florence La Badie and J. Morris Foster
Florence La Badie and J. Morris Foster
Ina Hammer thinks that  her crime may have been discovered
Ina Hammer thinks that her crime may have been discovered
Ina Hammer listens at the door
Ina Hammer listens at the door
Ina Hammer watches as Inda Palmer drops to the floor
Ina Hammer watches as Inda Palmer drops to the floor
Ina Hammer sees the will with her bequest in it
Ina Hammer sees the will with her bequest in it
Ina Hammer
Ina Hammer
Inda Palmer and Ina Hammer
Inda Palmer and Ina Hammer
Inda Palmer calls the police
Inda Palmer calls the police
Inda Palmer
Inda Palmer
Inda Palmer gets a wrong number
Inda Palmer gets a wrong number
Inda Palmer makes out her last will and testament
Inda Palmer makes out her last will and testament
J. Morris Foster, Florence La Badie and Boyd Marshall
J. Morris Foster, Florence La Badie and Boyd Marshall
J. Morris Foster and Florence La Badie
J. Morris Foster and Florence La Badie
J. Morris Foster, Inda Palmer and Ina Hammer
J. Morris Foster, Inda Palmer and Ina Hammer
J. Morris Foster in jail awaiting death
J. Morris Foster in jail awaiting death