This Week in Movie History, 11.04.12

This Week in Movie History takes a Historic look at movie history through the ages.

November 7, 1902: French inventor/film executive Leon Gaumont demonstrates his Chronophone system of showing films with synchronized phonograph cylinders.

November 4, 1907: The Chicago City Council Ordinance forbids the showing of “obscene and immoral pictures” and grants police permission to ban a movie’s release.

November 4, 1948: The treatment of the mentally ill is graphically depicted in The Snake Pit, starring Olivia de Havilland.

November 6, 1958: Steve McQueen battles that man-eating goo from outer space, The Blob, in his first starring film role.

November 8, 1966: Two years after retiring from the screen in The Killers (his first villainous role), Ronald Reagan is elected governor of California.

November 8, 1972: Cable TV takes a giant step when Home Box Office debuts in 350 homes in Wilkes-Barre, Pa. The first movie shown is Sometimes a Great Notion.

November 4, 1980: America puts its first professional actor in the White House, as Ronald Reagan is elected the 40th President of the United States.

November 4, 1994: After winning acclaim at the Sundance Film Festival, Kevin Smith‘s $30,000 convenience-store comedy Clerks goes into general release.

  • Blair Kramer

    Leon Gaumont’s 1902 system of projecting films with synchronized sound on Edison phonograph cylinders wasn’t new. Nor was it original. The man himself, Thomas Edison, initially used this very approach some time in the 1890’s. In fact, you can easily access the actual short Edison film with the original soundtrack on YouTube. In the film , two men are dancing to the music of a violinist. The recording device that was used to record the music is plainly visible in the background. The amazing thing about the early Edison film is the fact that it had the soundtrack on the film. It wasn’t on a separate phonograph cylinder. Picture and sound were combined and perfectly synchronized.

    • Wayne P.

      Interesting to also note how long it took from those early beginnings of film at the Edison Studios until the first ‘talking’ motion picture finally came out in 1927 with The Jazz Singer, since music and flim had been merged so well that far back!