The Human Pendulum (1916)
"The Human pendulum" - Bison Feature
THE HUMAN PENDULUM is remarkable, not only for the hair-raising stunts which are incidental to its plot, but also because of the tense action throughout. The girl who is featured, Miss Walcamp, has performed so many feats of daring in the Bison pictures that she does not need an introduction to the weekly readers.
Among the features of this picture is a teddy bear, but not of the stuffed variety, which runs in front of Miss Walcamp's house and start the est on its runaway ride. She is then thrown over a cliff and is force to hang, many feet from the ground, until rescued by her usual partner, Mr. Wallock. It may be interesting to know that Miss Walcamp, besides being an expert rider, swims, dances, and drives motor-cars, aeroplanes or railway locomotives.
The story in brief follows:
Bob McKay is chief of construction on the new mountain division of the Black Rock Short Line, and he is greatly aided in his arduous tasks by his foreman, McFadden. Stanford Markham, president of the company engaged in building the new line, orders the construction work rushed, as, by the terms of its franchise, the company must complete the project within a scheduled time.
One of McKay's colleagues in the railway building is Jim Gordon, chief engineer of construction, who, posing as an honest man, is secretly being paid by a rival railway to betray his trust and covertly delay the building of the new division. So Gordon plots to overthrow McKay's energetic efforts. Gordon is able to create dissention among the workmen. He bribes one of the laborers, Bud Ennis, to wreck a train load of construction material long awaited by McKay. The latter, on learning of the wreck, sends a telegram to President Markham informing him of the disaster.
McKay receives a despatch (sic) from Markham saying that he is coming on a special train to meet McKay and Gordon for a conference about the troublous work. Markham, who is in ill-health, is accompanied on his trip by his daughter, Dorothy, and three directors of the railroad company. While the special train is speeding over the already constructed trackage of the new mountain line, Bud Ennis, working secretly under Gordon's orders, arranges to blow up a tunnel and thus prevent the train from reaching the front. Ennis, with two accomplices, enters the tunnel with a box of dynamite to plant the explosive in the roadbed, but they see He heroically risks his life by seizing the box of explosive and hurling it over the bank just as the train speeds by.
Markham, largely on account of his poor health, decides to remain in the mountains, near the construction work and he and Dorothy live in his private car on a siding. Gordon, to ingratiate himself with Dorothy, lends her his saddle horse, and she rides along the mountain trails. Gordon continues his plotting and manages by strategy to (continued on Page 35.)
have the workmen idle at a time when Markham is near, so that Markham, on meeting McKay, scolds him, with a result that McKay resigns his post. McFadden also quits in loyalty to McKay. The two men go to the top of Eagle Peak to talk over their future plans, and are horrified to see Dorothy's horse running away with her. Having been frightened by a bear, it is racing with her towards the brink of a high cliff. Dorothy is unable to stop her maddened horse, and it plunges over the precipice, near where Mckay and McFadden stand. Dorothy, as the horse falls, manages to leap from the saddle and seizes a large oak root.
McKay and McFadden rescue Dorothy from a precarious position on the face of the cliff in a sensational manner. Markham, to show his gratitude, gives Bob his old position.
Some weeks later the road is completed and the officials bestir themseoves to run a train over the line and thus fulfill the terms of the franchise. Gordon resolves to block the passage of the train, and he hires two thugs to go with him to slay the engineer and fireman of the train. As the special train speeds by a rocky cut, Gordon and the thugs fire into the cab, wounding the pilot and fireman. McKay courageously resolves to drive the locomotive, with McFadden as the fireman.
Gordon rides across the country and sets the tunnel on fire, but Mckay bravely rushes the train through the blazing tunnel. As the train speeds by a cut, Gordon tries to shoot at Dorothy, McFaddena dn McKay in the cab, but he is seen by McFadden who shoots him.
When the train arrives at Black Rock, Markham and the directors all praise McKay. A few months later, Dorothy becomes his bride.
From The Moving Picture Weekly, July 8, 1916, page 23.
with Marie Walcamp, Edwin Wallock and Lee Hill. Directed by Henry McRae. Bison/Universal.
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Last Modified April 2, 2012.