Wharton Studio Book Coming Soon!


Silent Serial Sensations: The Wharton Brothers and the Magic of Early Cinema, the first book-length study of Ted and Leo Wharton and their extraordinary film careers, is in production by Cornell University Press, for early 2020 release. Author/historian Barbara Tepa Lupack covers the Whartons’ early years, from their experiences on stage and in the theater to their work for the Edison, Kalem, Pathé, and Essanay studios.  The book focuses on the Whartons’ tenure in Ithaca, where—at their Wharton Studio in Renwick Park—they produced the preponderance of their landmark serials and feature films; and it also examines their ventures in the film industry after their departure from Ithaca.   Congratulations to Ms. Lupack , who is a WSM friend and frequent collaborator on many wonderful projects!

Advance readers have hailed Silent Serial Sensations, calling it an excellent picture of the silent film serial era. One reader described it as “a well-researched written narrative of a largely-forgotten-but-once-important moviemaking team, with plenty of detail about the pictures themselves, the enterprise’s interactions with the local environment (both financially and geographically), and its business triumphs and setbacks.” Another reader noted that the book has“exceptional merit,” and, while exhaustive in its analysis, it “never loses the reader in its details.” “Unfailingly well-written,” Silent Serial Sensations is “a significant contribution” to the scholarly canon and, “without a doubt, will remain the standard work on the Whartons for years to come.” Still other film scholars have found the book “compelling” and “great stuff”—an excellent read for both scholars and general readers.

 The book, which includes an appendix with original scripts from several of the serials, draws on Wharton collections and materials at the Kroch Rare Book Library at Cornell University, the History Center in Tompkins County, the Wharton Studio Museum, the Library of Congress, and other archives nationwide. Profusely illustrated, Silent Serial Sensations contains sixty film stills and images that afford readers a fuller picture of the Whartons’ life and work.

Posted in WSM News.

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