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Entries in motion pictures (11)

Sunday
Feb242008

Movie Theater of the Future (1930)


The August 3, 1930 Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, NY) ran the above article about the movie theater of the future, complete with robot staff.

Titled, "Television Soon Will Flash Talkies Through the Ether; Theater of the Future Will Receive Its Films From Afar," the piece opens by explaining how a single man at a central control booth could beam movies, via television technology, to multiple theaters miles away. The accompanying illustration shows a man opening and activating theaters throughout New York state.

The caption below our robot hosts reads, "Vic Lambdin, Herald staff artist, sketches the Syracuse theater of the future, operated by robots and automations, and [receiving] its talkie programs by television from a distant master station."

The analysis of economic forces behind the move to "talkies" is fascinating. And the feeling that a move to television on the big screen is inevitable is also intriguing given the fact that most people had never even seen a television set in person at that point.

Much the same economic factors that forced the motion picture industry to climb on the talkie band wagon will compel the adoption of television, this may be later . . . but more likely it will be sooner.


See also:
Thinks We'll Do Our Reading On Screen (1923)
Movie Trends of the 21st Century (1982)
How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D. (1950)
"Just Imagine" Pictures Life and Love 50 Years From Today (1930)
Robots vs. Musicians (1931)

 

Wednesday
Jan092008

"Just Imagine" Pictures Life and Love 50 Years From Today (1930)

The September 14, 1930 Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, NY) ran a piece about the people of 1980 who may stumble upon the 1930 film Just Imagine. At the time this article was published the film had not yet been released. The entire article appears below.

Hollywood, Sept. 13. - New Yorkers of 50 years hence may draw down from the dusty shelves where forgotten movies rest a quaint roll of celluloid dated 1930 and labeled "Just Imagine," and gather en masse to ascertain what prophetic powers, if any, were possessed by a certain trio of gay song-showmen of our day, the Messrs, DeSylva, Brown and Henderson.

 

Should this transpire, that future audience will see a screen musical comedy conception, by 1930 prophets, of what their life, customs and dress would be.

Just how good a picture "Just Imagine" will be remains to be seen, but at present it stands out as the most unusual movie idea in Hollywood, one that has not been done before, and that is saying much.

Two or three pictures, true, have looked into the future for their settings, but none on so large a scale as this. "Just Imagine" is laid in New York in 1980.

Secrecy has surrounded work on the picture, and sets built to scale in a vast hangar miles from Hollywood were used to depict "a metropolis where traffic proceeds on many levels, where boats dock at the feet of 230-story skyscrapers, and aerial traffic has supplanted the automobile.

Science has achieved the miracle of reviving a Brooklynite (El Brendel) struck by lightning in 1930. Television long since has ceased to be a novelty, and people have numbers instead of names.

There is a marriage tribunal which confers a desired maiden on the most worthy of her suitors, and this supplies the plot.

The hero (John Garrick), an ocean air-liner pilot, loves Maureen O'Sullivan, but a newspaper publisher (Kenneth Thomson), wins the tribunal's approval.

Garrick, appealing his case, has four months in which to prove his superiority to Thomson - but what can he do? The act that made Lindbergh an international hero in 1927 is just a routine job to him.

Then a scientist offers him opportunity to be the first to fly to Mar, to become the Lindbergh of 1980. Of [unreadable] hectic adventures on the strange planet, to which he is accompanied by Frank Albertson (his friend) and Brendel, the stowaway.

"Just Imagine," say its authors, is not intended, of course, as serious prophecy, but as entertainment.


See also:
Just Imagine (1930)
Instant Baby Machine (1930)
Movie Trends of the 21st Century (1982)

 

Tuesday
Jun262007

Thinks We'll Do Our Reading on Screen (1923)

The second part of the February 12, 1923 article, "Thinking Men and Women Predict Problems of World Century Hence," focuses on motion pictures.

Written by David Wark Griffith (D.W. Griffith) the piece provides some great insight into the hopes and dreams for this new medium. While he has some spot-on predictions, Griffith couldn't have been more wrong about "instantaneous transmission" (i.e. live television) never taking off.

The great publishing industry will be the publishing of motion pictures instead of print.

Motion picture libraries will be as common as private libraries - more so.

Theatres will have the same relation to these libraries as the spoken theatre today has to the printed copies of dramatic works.

By their very scope and area of appeal the films must vastly outrank the stage in importance. The artistic development should be parallel since one will always draw more or less from the other.

Talking pictures will have been perfected and perhaps have been forgotten again. For the world will have become picture trained so that words are not as important as they are now.

All pictures will be in natural [unreadable]. The theatres will have special audiences; that is, there will be specialty theatres.

I do not see the possibility of instantaneous transmission of living action to the screen within 100 years. There must be a medium upon which the dramatic coherence can be worked out, and the perfected result set firmly before the screen will be permitted to occupy the public's attention. In the instantaneous transmission there would be entirely too much waste of the public's time, and that is the important thing - time.

See also:
Movie Trends of the 21st Century (1982)
Thinking Men and Women Predict Problems of World Century Hence (1923)
Pictures Stately Edifices (1923)

Wednesday
May022007

Movie Trends of the 21st Century (1982)

The 1982 book The Omni Future Almanac describes the future of Hollywood.

*Cartoons, westerns, and love stories will still constitute the pre-dominant hits of the twenty-first century.

*Future audiences, unfamiliar with classic films like Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca, and The Godfather, will see these enduring tales remade with the stars of the future. This will continue a revivalist tradition that has long been in existence in Hollywood and on the Broadway stage.

*Instant classics will be created by increased Hollywood hype and intensive advertising. Aggressive marketing techniques will also be used in the promotion of pay television and home video media.

*Old-time movies - black and white films from the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s - will be electronically colored by computer techniques for a generation unfamiliar with the medium of black and white photography.

*Trends at the theater concession stand may come and go, but popcorn will remain America's favorite movie-going snack.

*Movie studios will continue to become electronic entertainment conglomerates. With their vast financial resources, these will be the only organizations capable of funding the giant spectaculars of the future. The trend is already exemplified by Universal, Paramount, MGM and Warner. Smaller experimental movies, on the other hand, will flourish with the availability of video to independent producers.

*Though the techniques and technologies of movies are certain to change, movies will always be called movies.

Citizen Kane, Gone with the Wind, Casablanca and The Godfather may very well be the only movies in history that haven't been remade. I'd be pleased as punch if they kept it that way. (Oh, and if you could halt production on that remake of The Birds, that'd be awesome.)

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