`Ten Days That Changed History'
APRIL 16, 1902: The Movies
Motion pictures seemed destined to become a passing fad. Only a few years after Edison's first crude newsreels were screened — mostly in penny arcades, alongside carnival games and other cheap attractions, the novelty had worn off, and Americans were flocking back to live vaudeville.
Then, in spring 1902, Thomas L. Tally opened his Electric Theater in Los Angeles, a radical new venture devoted to movies and other high-tech devices of the era, like audio recordings.
"Tally was the first person to offer a modern multimedia entertainment experience to the American public," says the film historian Marc Wanamaker. Before long, his successful movie palace produced imitators nationally, which would become known as "nickelodeons." America's love affair with the moving image — from the silver screen to YouTube — would endure after all.
Thanks, Adam, for mentioning YouTube...
I have been noticing that YouTube videos (like this one) are incredibly similar to the kinds of movies Edison and his colleagues were making more than 110 years ago (watch Serpentine Dance on this page.) The new medium is stepping in the footprints of the old. The camera is trained on someone doing something interesting -- ideally something sexy -- and no edits or narrative are required.