Dots and Dashes is a 1910 American silentshort drama produced by the Thanhouser Company. May Wilson is a telegraph operator and Jack Wilson is the head bookkeeper of the brokerage office. May teaches Jack how to use Morse Code. At the end of the day is called to into the office and learns that something is wrong with the books and he quickly finds the guilty party and confronts him. While he leans into the safe, Bill pushes him inside and locks the safe before fleeing. May, who is waiting for Jack, goes to the office and searches for him. Hearing groans from the safe, she knows he is in danger and uses Morse code to learn the combination and free him. Later, Bill returns to the scene to see if Jack is dead. As he opens the door, the police pop out of the safe and arrest him. The film was released on September 30, 1910 and was met with mixed reviews for the improbable plot and the inaccurate Morse code being tapped out on screen. The film is presumed lost.
Though the film is presumed lost, a synopsis survives in The Moving Picture World from October 1, 1910. It states: “May Wilson and Jack Preston are employed at a downtown brokerage office, she as telegraph operator of the private wire of the firm, and he as head bookkeeper. The young people are fond of each other, and at the opening of the play have just made an engagement to spend the evening in each other’s company at one of the theatres. May has been teaching Jack mysteries of the Morse code and is greatly pleased when she finds that he has so far mastered it as to be able to rap back an answer to her messages. After May has left the office for the day, the head of the firm calls Jack into his private office and there confides to him that there is something wrong with the books of the concern, and tells Jack to investigate. On looking into the matter, Jack discovers that his fellow worker, Carson, is the defaulter, and accuses him to his face. Alone in the office, Carson begs Jack to shield him, while Jack insists that he must make their employer conversant with the facts. As Jack leans far into the large safe to deposit the ledgers of the firm, Bill thrusts him inside, and turning the knob entombs him alive in the steel prison. Trembling with fear at his act, Bill steals cautiously from the office.”
“May, becoming impatient when theatre time arrives and Jack fails to call for her, decides that he must still be working at the office, forgetful of the lateness of the hour. She proceeds to the office to remind him of his appointment, and finding it deserted, she is about to leave, when muffled groans reach her from the safe. She realizes that it must be her sweetheart who is imprisoned, and that unless she can free him in short order, he will surely die of suffocation. Not knowing the combination of the safe, and being unable to reach by telephone her employer, she suddenly conceives the idea that if by telegraphic signal she can make known to the man in the safe that she is there, trying to help him, he in his turn can in the same code give her the combination of the safe. This plan works out successfully, the two lovers tapping out their messages against the steel sides of the safe. The door of the safe finally yields to the combination, and Jack’s apparently lifeless body rolls to the floor of the office. May revives him, and amid tears and laughter they rejoice over Jack’s narrow escape. Haunted by the fear of what he has done, Bill creeps stealthily back into the office, opens the door of the safe, impelled to learn its horrible secret. As the door opens he is confronted by two officers of the law, who place him under arrest.”