eBooksRead.com books search new books
Elizabeth (Armstrong) Mrs. Reed.

The Educational screen (Volume 23-24) online

. (page 3 of 165)
Online LibraryElizabeth (Armstrong) Mrs. ReedThe Educational screen (Volume 23-24) → online text (page 3 of 165)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook
Cine Educative , This bureau encourages visual educa-
tion in Peruvian schools and colleges. It has at its
disposal a sound truck, employing a full time opera-
tor, which was presented to the Government by the
International Petroleum Company. The Govern-
ment, in cooperation with the office of the Coordi-
nator of Inter-American Affairs, is now showing
educational films in schools and colleges, clubs, and
in the public squares of the principal provincial
towns. The subject of employing motion pictures
as an integral part of the school curriculum has
been long under discussion in Government circles
but no definite program has materialized. There
are no schools or colleges that maintain film libra-
ries but the Coordinator's office will supply educa-
tional films upon request. It is estimated that there
are about 400 35mm sound projectors in use. There
are perhaps seven 16mm sound projectors in opera-
tion in Peru.

Silent 16mm projectors are. with few exceptions,
owned by private individuals, and number about 400.
Several mining companies, medical societies, and
government departments have purchased 16mm pro-
jectors for the purpose of showing educational, in-
dustrial, and professional films. The number of
8mm projectors in use is estimated at about 250. Slide-
films are not used in Peruvian schools. Some of the
larger American firms accompany their sales cam-
paign with film presentations, and some progress
has been made by the Government in the use of
educational films in institutions of higher learning
in Peru. Most of such films are of American origin.

Uruguay Considerable progress has been made
in the use of educational films. About four films
are shown each year on 35mm stock by the Section
Cineinatografia del Ministerio de Instruction Publica.
which has shown about 50 films since its establishment
in 1922 and maintains a film library. About three films
are shown per year on 16mm stock by Section Cinema-
tografia de Ensenaiiza Priniaria v Normal. The Uni-
versity of Montevideo is the only institution of
education which uses films for instructional pur-
poses, but others are interested. Small film collec-
tions have been accumulated by the American Em-
bassy and the British Legation. Very few standard-
sized projectors are yet found in schools or public
buildings. It is estimated that there are 553 silent
16mm projectors in Uruguay, used mainly in private
homes, and 21 sound 16mm projectors. There is a
potential market in Uruguay for motion picture
equipment and films to the educational institutions.
Inquiry in this regard should be directed to the
Ministerio de Instruction Pnblica, or to the University
of Montevideo, or to the American Embassy.

Venezuela The Venezuelan Ministry of National
Education instituted a program for films in the
schools several years ago, but it has never attained
any substantial development. The activity so far

Page 18

The Educational Screen

has been confined largely to Caracas and a few
neighboring areas. So far as can be ascertained, no
35mm or 16mm projectors are in use by the govern-
ment. Schools do not have their own projectors.
The Educational Radio Service of the Ministry of
Education has, however, twelve 16mm sound pro-
jectors which it makes available, together with com-
petent operators, to schools who are interested.
Special showings for student groups are also given
at some theaters in Caracas. The Ministry of Edu-
cation follows a policy of sending films to technical
supervisors in the different States of the Republic
who arrange for their projection with equipment
provided by the State Government.

It may be said that educational institutions in
Venezuela are thinking along visual lines but lack
of funds still hampers any substantial development.
Here again, the Office of the Coordinator of Inter-
American Affairs is carrying out its program of dis-
tribution of educational films, with projection equip-
ment, and this should materially enhance interest
and should effect a possible market in this country
after the war.

There are some slide projectors (for glass lantern
slides) in several of the experimental schools in
Caracas, but their use is not widespread in other
parts of the country. No extensive film libraries
are maintained by either the schools or the Govern-
ment Educational Offices. The Government has
produced several educational, or documentary, films
in Venezuela which were of good quality. These
films, three in number, were produced in Venezuelan
studios which have shut down, and no important
documentary or educational films have been pro-
duced by the Government since. Many of the large
American firms in Venezuela, representatives of
American automobile companies, electrical com-
panies, and so on, make extensive use of educational
films, both motion and slide, in their programs of

Audio-Visual Aids in the
Schools of Tomorrow

(Concluded from page 10)

for classroom use. However, many more are needed
in order to bring more vividly to the student the social,
political, economic, and international phase of our

5. Distribution has long been one of the major prob-
lems where it is necessary that audio-visual aids such as
motion picture films, slides, recording and transcrip-
tions, be stored at some central source. What is being
done to meet this problem ? Is the answer fewer sources
with larger numbers of prints, or more local sources
servicing smaller areas such as one or two counties.
The success of the post war program will be deter-
mined to a certain extent by the way this problem is

6. Architectural and physical needs of an expanded
audio-visual program must be carefully considered.
Poor conditions for projection (light and acoustics) and
lack of sufficient equipment will discourage the teacher

in regard to using these aids. No matter how large
or how small the school, a room should be provided
for preview purposes if the instructor is to get the
maximum value from the films.

7. Teaching helps, suggestions, descriptive material,
and sources of audio-visual aids may well be simpli-
fied and condensed. The books mentioned in point
seven above, are excellent steps in this direction. These
will be a valuable help to the already over-worked
director of Visual Education, or the classroom teacher.

In a recent issue of the magazine Education jor
Victory an article entitled "Recent Contributions to
the Use of Visual Aids in Education" lists 43 books
and bulletins which deal with some phase of audio-
visual aids. This list was by no means complete,
and yet much of the material discussed in these var-
ious books or bulletins is essential if one is to have
a good perspective of the part that audio-visual aids
can play in our educational program of tomorrow, hence
one can readily see the need for condensing and simpli-
fying this material.

8. Audio-visual aids should be classified not onh in
subject fields but in units within that subject field.
Such a classification will be of untold help to the in-
experienced as well as to the experienced teacher in
planning a well rounded audio-visual program.

9. One or tivo national meetings should be held per
year, where the leaders can get together and discuss
the main issues and as a result provide the dynamic
leadership that is needed now. Similar meetings
might also be held in each Zone, of the D.V.I., there-
by reducing travel to the minimum.

In view of the factors favoring an expanded audio-
visual program, and considering the things that must
be done, what of the audio-visual program in our
schools of tomorrow? The use of the motion picture
as a teaching device received a serious setback follow-
ing the other war. Portable 35mm. projectors produced
for use in army camps, were unloaded on the schools.
After buying the projectors the school men found that
few if any films were available for classroom use, and
the price was prohibitive on those that were. It re-
quired years to overcome this setback. Will a similar
mistake be made again when not only projectors of all
description, but hundreds of slide, film strips, and films
are thrown on the market? Thousands of slides and
hundreds of films have been prepared for certain
specific teaching purposes for armed services. When
the war is over, if these films are put on the market
at very low cost, no doubt many of them will be bought
by the schools and again many of the school men
will have made a serious mistake. For while they
find these films well suited for the purpose for which
they were made, they will contribute little if any-
thing to the school program.

The part audio-visual aids will have in our schools
of tomorrow gives rich food for thought to the De-
partment of Visual Instruction of the N.E.A., as to
how to meet the problems with which it is confronted.
It is a challenge to every person interested in seeing
audio-visual aids used more extensively in our edu-
cation program. And the question still stands : "What
will be the place of audio-visual aids in the schools of
tomorrow ?"

January, 1944

Page 19



Installment 53. Non-theatrical history was
made indeed by the advent oi modern talking
pictures. They came nearly twenty years ago

Chapter XII-And Now They Must Talk

WE ARE ACCUSTOMED to speak loosely
about the "sudden" coming of
talking pictures. As a matter of
fact, even from the time of the first suc-
cessful demonstration until widespread
acceptance, there was a long period of
vacillation about three years for many
of the lesser theatres and the places
of non-theatrical exhibition were, with
a very few well-to-do exceptions, the
last to be "wired for sound." Writers
presumably authoritative declared that
the growing popularity of sound films
was only a fad, and would subside to a
normal state in which silent pictures
also would hold their own. To this
prophecy clung many teachers, ministers,
clubmen and industrial users, fearful
that their hard-won mute equipment
would be rendered useless, and unable
to afford the new. So far as they were
concerned the prophecy was not alto-
gether without force. Upwards of a
dozen years after the fear loomed im-
portantly on the horizon, film rental li-
braries were still doing a substantial
business in 16mm prints of old silent

The Parts oi Speech

THERE had been talking pictures since
before the close of the nineteenth century.
One of Edison's first efforts, after his
invention of the Kinetoscope, had been
to combine it with his phonograph. In-
deed, much of the apathy with which
the modern talking picture was at first re-
ceived, undoubtedly was because numer-
ous sound film devices of different sorts
had actually appeared in the theatres for
many years without working even slight
changes in the prevailing form of popular

Whenever a type of apparatus showing
unusual promise was brought forth, a
conglomeration of others also rushed
upon the market. Leon Gaumont came
to America in 1913 to supervise a New
York demonstration of the talking pic-
tures for which a French patent had
been granted him in 1901, and showed
them in colors into the bargain. He
came mainly because, in January, 1913,
Edison's improved (but by no means
perfected) Kinetophone talking pictures
had been received with favor by a few
leading theatres. William A. Brady, ever
eager to set sail upon the tide of pop-
ularity, contracted in the same year for
Webb's "electrical talking pictures," and
exhibited them at the Fulton Theatre,
New York, in May, 1914; and a little
before that the public was regaled with

Dr. Isadora Kitsee's "vocal pictures"
of Harry Lauder, produced at Phila-

There were the Whitman Camera-
phone, revealed in 1904 and exploited
by Mark Dintenfass, a prominent Inde-
pendent producer, in 1907 ; the Powers
Fotofone of 1910 ; the Vivaphone, and
Greenbam's Synchronoscope, which is
said to have represented a passing in-
terest of Carl Laemmle in 1908. Look
into the New York Dramatic Mirror of
March 19, 1913, and see an advertise-
ment by John W. Mitchell : "Wanted
sketches and scenarios for Talking
Motion Pictures," and, on Page 24 of
the issue of May 28, 1913, behold the
already casual use of the term "talkies."

This picture of Thomas Edison's plan
to make the world's first talkies by
joining phonograph and kinetograph
was originally published in Harper's
Weekly, in the issue of June 13, 1891.

Nor did the Edison Kinetophone pic-
tures at once die out. I was chatting
recently with Charles Gilson, an Edison
cameraman of those hectic pioneer days.
He told me that, until the outbreak of
World War No. 1 Edison maintained
talking picture studios, by license and
using operators provided by his own
American company, at Vienna and Mos-
cow. Gilson was at Moscow. He was
there when the World War began, witlr
one other operator and an interpreter
three, out of only about nineteen Ameri-
cans, it is said, in the city at that time.

The popular notion that what held
the achievement of the modern talking
picture back was because voice and pic-
ture could not be synchronized, was mis-
taken. What actually retarded the de-
velopment was the need of sound ampli-
fication, a problem which was not solved
sufficiently until the perfected invention


of the audion tube, the same which sig-
nalized the popularization of radio. It
was invented by Lee De Forest in 1904
and sold by him for further develop-
ment to the Western Electric Company
in 1907. Then, for the first time, a real
quality reproduction of original sound be-
came possible, as did the raising of its
volume without distortion. As far as
films are concerned, this step was im-
portantly begun about 1919, when De
Forest, then a figure notable in "wire-
less," is said to have turned his at-
tention for the first time to the talking
picture device which became associated
with his name.

To keep away from the prying eyes
of inquisitive fellow-Americans and at
the same time to avail himself of trained
technological assistance, De Forest
carried on his experimental work in Ber-
lin, Germany, until about 1922, when he
felt that he had overcome his major ob-
stacles. He then returned to the United
States, where, with the backing of a
South African theatrical magnate, M. A.
Schlesinger, whose headquarters were in
New York City, he incorporated his firm
of General Talking Pictures.

I first met De Forest in this period
through Frank A. Tichenor, who had
been made general manager and treas-
urer. His original offices were in space
sublet from Tichenor in the Candler
Building, 220 West 42nd Street, precisely
where the American Red Cross had had
its film center in wartime. The Simplex
Projection Room, belonging to Tichenor,
was outfitted for private demonstrations
of DeForest's Phonofilm, and some of
De Forest's first pictures I was per-
mitted to see and hear in that place. Un-
fortunately, De Forest was an inventor
primarily and not also a shrewd busi-
ness man, a combination which really is
a little too much to expect ; and a sharp
divergence of opinion over management
of the corporation led to Tichenor's res-

Early in 1923 De Forest gave a public
showing of his Phonofilm at the Rialto
Theatre in New York. Hugo Riesenfeld,
then the director of that house, had
watched the more recent developments
with great interest, and he opined that
while the invention would be popular as
an occasional program novelty, it could
not, of course, affect the established
powers of "the silent screen." The Will
Hays office was quoted at about the
same time by a New York Times reporter
as stating warily that students of the
film were generally confident that "speak-
ies" would never supersede the movies,
and Edison, who surely had had much
painful experience, declared flatly that
the public had demonstrated that it did

Page 20

The Educational Screen

not want talkies. Edison said it em-
phatically again as late as May. 1926,
when the industrial revolution had
actually begun. I note the.se expressions
as curiosities, not as criticisms. No
person could have known the amazing
future for a certainty then.

The widespread, truly mushroom
growth of the modern talking picture
was thus sudden enough after all, a
surprise to every observer, including
the engineers themselves who could not
have anticipated its immediate popularity
even while they worked upon it. And.
looking backward, one can see readily
enough that the main stress of its evi:lu
tion belonged naturally in the premises
of the Bell Telephone System.

It had been part of the Bell operating
plan for many years to conduct a re-
search division for the purpose of con
stantly improving the telephone service.
In the course of such work it had mail.
notable contributions to acoustical appa-
ratus of all sorts, including phonograph
recording and radio broadcasting.
Naturally it drew into its employ for
such accomplishment all needed outside
patents. It had needed the principle of
the audion three-element tube, invented
by De Forest for radio, for amplification
of the human voice in long distance tele-
phony. And, having acquired the tube
from De Forest, the Bell System quite
:onsistently and properly cultivated pos-
sible further applications through its
manufacturing division, the Western
Electric Company. The modern talking
picture, then, was essentially one of the
useful, normal by-products of the tele-
phone. But the telephone officials, them-
selves, were as much astonished as any-
body at the tremendous success of the
completed apparatus.

Of course, De Forest's Phonorilm coin
pany did not go out of existence merely
because the inventor had made side coi.-
tracts, and short subjects were produced
at his New York studio by his own
process until well into the popular sound
film period. There were promises the
establishment of a Phonofilm Library at
the Smithsonian Institution in Washing,
ton, the National Museum ; and one ot
the subjects said to have been destined
for the collection was a Phonofilm of Ed-
win Markham reciting his Man With a
Hoe. This was actually produced in 1926.
Herbert Hall Winslow, playwright and
director for World Film in the pre-war
days, a neighbor of mine, wrote and pro-
duced several Phonofilm one-act plays
after that, one or two for industrial

In 1922, while De Forest was telling
representatives of the press in New York
City about the coming marvels of his
Phonofilm, word seeped out that the
General Electric Company, heavily inter-
ested in radio devices, was also develop-
ing a sound picture apparatus. Upstate
there, at Schenectady, the distinguished
scientist, Irving Langmuir, \vas working
on amplification tubes of other sorts, and
the Company's Dr. C. A. Hoxie had
evolved a strange-looking affair called
the Pallophotophone, employing, oddly
enough, a principle developed by Alex-
ander Graham Bell years before, for

simultaneous recording of voice and ap-

Late in 1922 the Company even re-
leased a picture of it, showing Miss
Mabel Boardman making a speech to it

were so indifferent, was Charles John-
son Post, a passing earlier figure in these
pages. And probably the first of the
"all-talkies," made by the Bell Telephone
process representing the invention of

In December, 1922, Mabel Boardman, American Red Cross Na-
tional Secretary, appealed for funds through General Elec-
tric's Pallophotophone. Recording was done at Washington
and her words were broadcast thereafter from Schenectady.

for the benefit of the American Red
Cross. To develop the Hoxie apparatus
further, when the Bell Telephone Labora-
tories struck a bonanza with the device,
the General Klectric Company pooled
patents belonging to Westinghouse, the
Radio Corporation of America and them-
selves directly.

Research activities of the General
Electric Company had many aspects
resembling those of the Bell Telephone
Laboratories, but the two organizations,
recognizing that their aims were es-
sentially different, (the former being
interested primarily in light, heat and
power, and the latter chiefly in communi-
cation) entered during the National emer-
gency needs of World War No. I, into
an agreement permitting their joint ac-
cess to discoveries applicable to their
main, non-conflicting purposes. Factors
which comprised the talking picture bore
heavily on the respective leading in-
terests of both companies, so both shared
in its exploitation, choosing slightly dif-
ferent avenues to the same result. The
theatres and studios, therefore, were
given their choice of the Western Elec-
tric recording and reproducing system,
belonging to the Telephone Company,
and the R.C.A.-Photophone system, which
was controlled by General Electric.
But sound films produced for either sys-
tem could be reproduced satisfactorily and
with full permission of the patent owners,
on the other.

I shall not try to relate the dramatic
circumstances in which the producers of
theatrical silent pictures were persuaded
to attempt the production of modern
talkies, for that has been done volumi-
nously in other places and also by many
other hands. It is of interest here, how-
ever, that the special agent of the Bell
Telephone Laboratories who first induced
prominent theatrical men to come and
see the marvel to which they at first

the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell
and his demonstration to Dom Pedro,
emperor of Brazil, at the Philadelphia
centennial exposition of 1876 was pro-
duced in 1926 under the direction of
Howard Gale Stokes. It was exhibited
that year in the Telephone Company's
display at the Philadelphia sesqui-ecn-
tennial exposition.

Another bit of human interest in the
introduction of modern talking pictures
which seems to have escaped the his-
torians, is that as soon as Albuin Mari-
ner heard of the interest of the powerful
sponsors, he was seized with a great
desire to be the first to photograph
an actual talkie for public release. He
applied to those in charge at General
Electric and was taken on. Howard
Stokes at the Telephone Company was
first. But Mariner was one of the first
nevertheless. He produced the admirable
four-reel lecture by Irving Langmuir
entitled "Oil Films on Water," still to
be found importantly on the General
Electric educational list.

Walter J. Rich, a second special agent
of the Bell Telephone Laboratories, con-
tracted with Warner Brothers for the
first Western Electric theatrical talking
picture license late in 192S, and experi-
mental production began at once in the
Flatbusli studio which had come to
Warners the preceding spring with their
purchase of the Vitagraph Company of
America. August 7, 1926, at the former
Knickerbocker Theatre, in New York
City, they presented their first public
sound program. It opened with a talking
picture of Will Hays, who expressed
his belief to the audience that the in-
vention would revolutionize the film in-
dustry. The actual turning-point in the
industry, however, is commonly agreed to
have been the presentation of "The Jazz
Singer." starring Al Jolson, October 6,

January, 1944

Going Into Business

OF COURSE, the Bell Laboratories were
first established in talking pictures
through their theatrical contracts, but
they had a further advantage because
the innovation was acoustical more than
a mere matter of picture projection or
synchronous motor drive, these aspects
having been developed in the main be-
fore. They pursued the advantage ener-
getically. To keep the new by-product
distinct from telephone interests, the
Western Electric Company, the manu-
facturing division of the telephone sys-
tem, organized a wholly owned sub-
sidiary called Electrical Research Pro-
ducts. Inc., and equipped it to exploit
the patents. Its headquarters were es-
tablished in the Fisk Building, 250 West
57th Street, New York City, and it
quickly acquired a shorter, though un-
official name, made of the initial letters
of the title Erpi (pronounced "urpy")
which became current as one of the most
mystifying words in the new studio
lingo of the "talkies."

Charles W. Bunn, the sales manager,
experienced in prevailing theatrical mo-
tion picture methods, was exceedingly
efficient: but the desire for equipment,
stimulated by the avid public demand
for sound films, was so tremendous that
his job became one of trying to fill orders
rather than securing them. By March

Online LibraryElizabeth (Armstrong) Mrs. ReedThe Educational screen (Volume 23-24) → online text (page 3 of 165)
Using the text of ebook The Educational screen (Volume 23-24) by Elizabeth (Armstrong) Mrs. Reed active link like:
read the ebook The Educational screen (Volume 23-24) is obligatory.

Leave us your feedback | Links exchange | RSS feed 

Online library ebooksread.com © 2007-2014