In the beginning, there was Edison
• Let’s take a trip to New Jersey, where the
motion picture began.
William Kennedy Laurie Dickson
• He was the chief engineer at Edison’s Lab
in West Orange, NJ. He created the first
cellulose strips imprinted with
images, which were shown through a
• The kinetoscope is a device used to show
the short moving films invented at the
Let’s take a peek at the kinetoscope …
• We will visit the inside of the device to
watch how it operated.
D. W. Griffith
• Master Movie Maker of the early screen:
• Griffith’s work utilized the modern film
techniques of the time and often
highlighted controversial issues like the
KKK and his famous film (1915) Birth of a
• Silent films were the norm at first and most
usually lasted from 10-15 minutes.
Eventually, as demand increased and
technology grew, films became longer and
people would pay to view them.
• Some of the most famous silent screen
actors are Charlie Chaplin, Mary Pickford,
Will Rogers, Louise Brooks, Mary Astor,
Marlene Dietrich, Lillian Gish, Roscoe,
“Fatty Arbuckle”, among many others.
• In 1927, Warner Brothers released, The
Jazz Singer, starring Al Jolson. Take a
look and see if you recognize the song…
• This was the first synchronized singing
and dancing film, but it was mostly silent. It
wasn’t until 1928 that the first
synchronized film with sound was
The Great Wars
• During WW1 & WW2, films were used for
propaganda, advertisements to buy U. S.
Savings Bonds and to share news. There
was very little immediate live news
coverage during this time, so many people
went to the movies to see what was
happening in the world. This brought
1950’s & 1960’s
• This era of filmmaking was known as the
“Post Classical Era”. Film makers took a
turn to show more violence, sex, and other
“distasteful” content on the big screen.
This eventually led to the ratings system
that we have today.