Finger Lakes Film Trail | Silent Film. Twenty-five years ago, The Exploits of Elaine became the first serial to be honored with a place on the US National Film Registry. It was also the first serial produced by Ted and Leo Wharton, working out of Ithaca, New York. Starring Pearl White, who did most of her own stunts, the serial follows Elaine, who, with the help of Dr. Craig Kennedy, the "American Sherlock Holmes," tracks down her father's murderer, known only as "The Clutching Hand." The heroic duo use modern and beyond-modern detecting gadgets (including fingerprints!) to ferret out the villain, inspiring not only numerous serials to come, but also adventure films such as Raiders of the Lost Ark. These first four episodes highlight a little-known piece of film history residing in Central New York that still resonates with audiences more than a century later. Live piano by Philip C. Carli.
The Finger Lakes Film Trail is a collaborative effort by Central New York institutions to highlight the historical importance of the region in the development of motion pictures.