Illustrated lecture by George Willeman, The Library of Congress
The Museum of Modern Art, Floor T2, Theater 2
*Jack’s Joke*. 1913. USA. Directed by Allan Ramsey. Courtesy The Library of Congress

On February 17, 1913, after many years of R+D, Thomas Alva Edison introduced the Edison Kinetophone to an enthusiastic New York audience. The Kinetophone was a fairly complex mechanical means of creating talking pictures. Unlike previous systems, in which actors would be required to lip sync to preexisting recordings on camera, the Kinetophone was one of the earliest film technologies to record sound at the same time as the image. More than 200 of these Kinetophones were produced between 1913 and 1914, but only a handful of the films and their accompanying sound cylinders survive. The Library of Congress, in cooperation with the Thomas Edison National Historical Park, has reconstructed eight of these Kinetophones, some of which have not been seen—or heard—since their debut 103 years ago. Library of Congress preservationist George Willeman presents six of them, including Nursery Favorites; The Deaf Mute, Part 1; and The Musical Blacksmiths, in an illustrated lecture. Program approx. 60 min.