WILLIAM S. HART - PROGRAM SIGNED CIRCA 1901 - HFSID 19720
WILLIAM S. HART Program for the stage production of Ben-Hur, with Hart signing as "the original Messala" Program signed: "William S. Hart/the original/Messala", 1 page, 4¾x7. Program for a production of Ben-Hur at the Colonial Theatre, Boston, Week of March 4, 1901.
Sale Price $391.00
WILLIAM S. HART
Program for the stage production of Ben-Hur, with Hart signing as "the original Messala"
Program signed: "William S. Hart/the original/Messala", 1 page, 4¾x7. Program for a production of Ben-Hur at the Colonial Theatre, Boston, Week of March 4, 1901. Cast lists William Farnum in the title role and Hart as the villainous Messala. Affixed caption in center of program: "From William S. Hart Horseshoe Ranch, Newhall, California." William S. Hart (1870-1946) began acting onstage in New York, going on to make his name as a Shakespearean actor on Broadway. By his 30s, he was a highly popular stage performer, particularly in western plays. He had spent his youth traveling around the country with his father, an itinerant laborer. Hart was 44 when he starred in his first film in 1914. Basing his westerns on his own memories of the West, he insisted on stark realism, using bare, unglamorous storylines that emphasized plot and character over action. In the early 20s, other western stars emerged who emphasized spectacular action and larger-than-life heroics, and Hart's popularity faded. In 1925, he made his final film, Tumbleweeds. Hart was a friend of legendary lawman Wyatt Earp and was a pallbearer at Earp's 1929 funeral. Hart played the same role in the Broadway debut of Ben-Hur (1899-1900). Ink note (unknown hand) at top right. Residue from previous mounting affixed on verso. Lightly creased. ¼-inch tear at bottom right. Otherwise, fine condition.
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