Stage and film actor, screen writer, producer and director, William S Hart was among the movie greats at the beginning of the film industry. William S Hart moved from stage to film at the age of 49.
So enamored with the Wild West, William Hart insisted on authentic costumes, props and story lines. As a result the films depict the Wild West as it was remembered by the men who were there. Yes, Wyatt Earp and Bat Masterson were among Bill Hart’s personal friends.
In his seventy-five movies, William Hart played both the good guy and the bad guy. His wish was to entertain the audience and capture the feeling of the American West Ideal. Personally, he was compassionate toward the Native Americans who he had seen loose much of their land and way of life during his lifetime. So touched he was by the nobility of certain tribes that he learned sign language. He used sign language in one of his movies.
Movies in the nineteen teens and twenties were two-reel short films or five-reel feature length films. Silent films were direct in their story telling which translated to any language.
Upon his retirement from film, William Hart had his La Loma de los Viento built in Newhall, California. The house is a creation of architect Arthur Kelly, who designed the Christie Hotel in Hollywood and the Wilshire Country Club in Hancock Park.
Film buffs delight in the old movie location, now a pristine museum which includes the ranch house, nature walk, pool area, as well as the Old Train Station, once the location of a Charlie Chaplin film as well as Hart’s La Loma de los Viento a top the hill. House tour lasts about 20 minutes. The hike up and down the hill makes the experience an easy couple of hours.
William S. Hart Park & Museum 24151 Newhall Ave., Newhall, CA 91321 http://www.hartmuseum.org/