Friday, June 8, 2012

Friday Video: That First Screen Kiss, 1896

Friday, June 8, 2012

Isabella/Susan reporting:

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.

7 comments:

leighevans said...

Your blog is turning into one of my secret addictions. The emails land in my inbox just about the time I'm sitting down to work, which means, of course, that work gets delayed for a few minutes.

Thanks for brightening my day. Interesting to note that the pinup girl of Thomas Edison's day looked pretty much like any real woman of this day.

Susan Bailey said...

That is positively amazing! I had no idea film existed before 1900. Wow. The people looked so natural. Hopefully there is more of Edison's work on Youtube, I will have to check that out.

Saviour Pirotta said...

This scene was used by Lowell Thomas in his introduction to This is Cinerama, which is screened the first Saturday of every month at the National Media Museum. This is a kiss that lasted!

chaosdancer said...

The apocryphal Mrs. Grundy was said to have complained of obscenity regarding this film. :) I believed that for years...didn't realize the character was way older than film.

Tom Miller said...

he rather nibbles more than smootches!

Roberta said...

Thank you for sharing this! Do you know if anyone has transcribed what they are saying (via lip reading?) I did a little Googling and found that it may be lines from a musical of the day "The Widow Jones" ....
Thanks again, Roberta

Regency Romance author Donna Hatch said...

What a cute kiss! I wonder what they were saying. I always love your posts to help feed my history addition.

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