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The Voice on the Wire (1917)

Chapter 15: "The Living Death" - Chapter 14 ends with the floating hand writing a message to John Spencer and Polly Marion that all would be made clear in next week's episode. Tom and Polly... See full summary »


Stuart Paton


Eustace Hale Ball (novel), J. Grubb Alexander (scenario)




Cast overview, first billed only:
Ben F. Wilson ... John Shirley (as Ben Wilson)
Neva Gerber ... Polly Marion
Francis McDonald ... 'Red' Warren
Joseph W. Girard ... Dr. Reynolds (as Joseph Girard)
Nigel De Brulier ... Professor Duval
Howard Crampton ... Captain Cronin
William Canfield William Canfield ... William Grimsby
William Quinn ... Emil LaRoux
Irene Hunt ... Mrs. Reynolds
L.M. Wells L.M. Wells ... Professor Montague
Frank MacQuarrie Frank MacQuarrie ... Alvin Van Cleft
Ernest Shields Ernest Shields ... Howard Van Cleft
Frank Tokunaga Frank Tokunaga
Hoot Gibson ... (as Edward Gibson)
Josephine Hill Josephine Hill


Chapter 15: "The Living Death" - Chapter 14 ends with the floating hand writing a message to John Spencer and Polly Marion that all would be made clear in next week's episode. Tom and Polly watch fascinated as the dis-embodied Hand writes (in flashback scenes, mostly.) Cronin and Professor Duvam wait in an adjoining room. The Hand writes that it (he) was a member of "The Black Seven," a psychical and scientific research group in Paris and, because other scientists considered them crazy owing to their advanced theories, they and their meetings were kept secret. Five of these men were the victims of "The Voice" (also dis-embodied) in previous chapters, the sixth was Dr. Reynolds and the seventh was Emil LaRoux. The latter, not content, with proving astral bodies could be projected, was also convinced he could recall a soul at will, providing that the body in which the soul had lived on earth was preserved by a certain ancient process. The other members were convinced that no one would ... Written by Les Adams <longhorn1939@suddenlink.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis








Release Date:

18 March 1917 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Dødningehaanden (Stemmen i Telefonen) - Part 1: Den orientalske Gift See more »

Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See full technical specs »

Did You Know?


Episode titles:
  • 1. The Oriental Death Punch.
  • 2. The Mysterious Man.
  • 3. The Spider's Web.
  • 4. The Next Victim.
  • 5. The Spectral Hand.
  • 6. The Death Warrant.
  • 7. The Marked Room.
  • 8. High Finance.
  • 9. A Stern Chase.
  • 10. The Guarded Heart.
  • 11. The Thought Machine.
  • 12. The Sign of the Thumb.
  • 13. Twixt Death and Dawn.
  • 14. The Light of Dawn.
  • 15. The Living Death.
See more »

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User Reviews

The mystery is well protected
21 July 2015 | by deickemeyerSee all my reviews

The first half dozen two-reel installments of this new serial introduce a story of strong melodramatic interest, in the best sense of the word. The series of inexplicable murders, all following warnings imparted by a mysterious voice over the telephone, present a mystery that intensifies as the story proceeds. The hero-detective, Shirley, makes repeated efforts to break up the series of crimes, but is baffled in each attempt. The observer is equally baffled, for the mystery is well protected. The story was adapted by J.G. Alexander from a book by Eustace Hale Ball and produced by Stuart Paton. The construction is excellent in the opening installments, the action being well-timed and carrying the interest along with a strong sweep. Ben Wilson appears as Shirley, who attempts to unravel the series of crimes, and makes good use of his opportunities in this interesting role. Neva Gerber is also pleasing as Polly Marion, the young actress who becomes involved in the various crimes. Others who have important parts are L.M. Wells, Frank McQuarrie, Howard Crampton, Joseph Girard and Ernest Shields. An element of improbability hovers over the main conception, which gives an amusing turn to the production. This relieves the situations from the horror and unpleasantness they might otherwise arouse. Each of the murders is committed by what is termed the "oriental death punch," traces of which are found above the heart of each victim. The series is to comprise fifteen installments. - The Moving Picture World, March 24, 1917

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