Thomas Edison invented so many things that have improved modern lives that his work as a pioneer film-maker is often overlooked. Working in his Black Maria studio in West Orange, New Jersey, he experimented exuberantly with the new technology, creating short, silent films of everything from Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show to boxing cats. He also filmed the first screen kiss, all twenty-six seconds of it, featuring Canadian actress May Irwin and a mustachioed gallant. In an era when Public Displays of Affection of any sort were strongly discouraged, this must have been scandalous stuff indeed - especially since, after a bit of flirtatious reluctance, the couple appears to enjoy their performance with relish.
There’s a big difference in how we use history. But we’re equally nuts about it. To us, the everyday details of life in the past are things to talk about, ponder, make fun of -- much in the way normal people talk about their favorite reality show.
We talk about who’s wearing what and who’s sleeping with whom. We try to sort out rumor or myth from fact. We thought there must be at least three other people out there who think history’s fascinating and fun, too. This blog is for them.