A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen

By Daniel Blum | Go to book overview
EDISON'S FIRST KINETOSCOPE ( 1889)
KINETOSCOPE PARLOR ( 1895)
PROGRAM OF FIRST PUBLIC VITASCOPE PRESENTATION ( 1896)

THE EARLY YEARS

To Thomas Alva Edison goes the credit for motion pictures, though at the time he did not regard his invention to seriously. He considered movies, as did many others, a novelty that would soon wear off. In 1889 the original motion picture machine came into being. It was called the Kinetoscope. It consisted of a cabinet inside which a length of film revolved on spools. When a coin was dropped into a slot an electric light shone on the film which was projected on the end of the cabinet. You saw the "moving picture" through a peephole just big enough for the human eye. These films were about fifty feet in length and ran for less than a minute. The subjects of Edison's films were simple -- a baby being bathed, a dog with a bone, portions of boxing matches, dances and vaudeville turns -- all suitable to show movement, jerky of course, but movement. To supply these films for the peepshow Kinetoscopes the first motion picture studio in the world was built by Edison in East Orange, New Jersey, at the cost of $637. Completed on February 1, 1893, it was dubbed "The Black Maria" and was swung from a pivot post to permit the stage to follow the light of the sun. In 1984 the Edison Kinetoscope machines were sold in the open market and presented commercially to the New York public in what was called Kinetoscope Parlors. Before the end of the year natives of Chicago, San Francisco, Atlantic City, Washington and Baltimore were introduced to the new wonder and soon Kinetoscope Parlors were flourishing all over the United States. This same year Alexander Black, who later became a wellknown writer, discovered the photoplay. A series of photographic slides taken from life were projected a on a screen by a magic lantern machine. They illustrated a story Black would read from the stage. He showed four slides a minute for his presentation and each picture was a step forward in action. For his first picture play he wrote 14,000 words and took as his subject the adventures of a girl reporter, "Miss Jerry." Blanche Bayliss, a well-known artist's model, played the title role and William Courtenay, who later became a celebrated stage star, was the hero. The first recorded film, in 1893, was made of a sneeze performed by Fred Ott, an assistant in the Edison West Orange Laboratory. The list of films made during those early years included Mme. Bertholdi, a contortionist; Annie Oakley; Colonel William Cody, the original Buffalo Bill; Eugene

FRED OTT'S SNEEZE ( 1893)

ANNABELLE'S BUTTERFLY DANCE ( 1897)

"WASHDAY TROUBLE" ( EDISON -- 1895)
FIRST MOTION PTICTURE STUDIO ( 1893)
MAY IRWIN, JOHN C. RICE IN "THE KISS" ( EDISON -- 1896)

-7-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
A Pictorial History of the Silent Screen
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page 1
  • Acknowledgments 2
  • Foreword 5
  • The Early Years 7
  • Index 325
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this book
  • Bookmarks
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
/ 334

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.