The Museum has started to develop a new exhibition about the Beatles’ 1964 tour of Australia. We recently acquired an unusual object from around that time. Does anybody know where it originated?
Continue reading ‘Mystery Beatles object’
Hidden treasures and stories from our collection
The Museum has started to develop a new exhibition about the Beatles’ 1964 tour of Australia. We recently acquired an unusual object from around that time. Does anybody know where it originated?
Continue reading ‘Mystery Beatles object’
The Powerhouse Museum’s Style 20 Fotoplayer is a wonderful instrument on display in the Kings Cinema within the Museum. It was made to provide music and sound effects to accompany silent movies and is an upright player piano, with an effects box.
When a roll is played, it activates the piano and the organ sections, but the other special effects need to be operated by hand. This means that the person operating the Fotoplayer needs to know the movie they are accompanying really well, so that they can operate the effects at the right time (doorbells, gunshot sounds from the drums etc etc.). No mean feat! Continue reading ‘The Museum’s fotoplayer comes to life again’
This splendid string quartet (two violins, a viola and a cello) was made by Kitty Smith (1912-2005) a professional violin maker who started her craft in the 1930s. Kitty was the daughter of Arthur Edward (A E) Smith (1880-1978) who is considered the most important violin maker in Australia.
These instruments came to mind recently on a visit to the Sydney Royal Botanic Gardens when we stopped to admire this Dragon’s Blood Tree, Dracena draco. The tree was still growing happily in spite of having fallen over. ‘Dragon’s Blood’ – the red sap from this tree can be used as an ingredient in varnish. It is soluble in alcohol, ether and oils and imparts to its solvent a rich red colour.
A bit of background…As the new millennium was about to begin composer and violinist Romano Crivici and I came up with a crazy idea – could we get two almost identical violins and test them against each other to see if their respective sounds changed over time?
Most people seemed to think that the sound of an instrument did change, but had anyone really tested it? And in fact, could it be tested? Now for the really crazy part – it’s not uncommon for violins to be played for a very long time, so if tests were possible, would they need to be conducted for the next 200 years or so to really see what changes were happening?
If we were going to go ahead with this idea we’d need to use brand new violins and a skilled maker who could attempt to make “twins”. Romano was keen to get a new violin and liked the work of Sydney maker Harry Vatiliotis. The Museum also commissions musical instruments for its collection from time to time from local makers which helps to document their work and their thoughts behind making. Harry had worked with the esteemed AE Smith, thought by many to have been Australia’s most renowned violin maker, and whose workshop had seen some of the leading Australian makers pass through it such as William Paszek, William Dolphin and Lloyd Adams. The Museum’s collection already had instruments by Smith and his associates including Sampson, Griffin, Paszek, Dolphin, Clarke, Newham and Kitty Smith so a Vatiliotis would help to make the collection even more complete. Harry kindly agreed to the idea of trying to make two violins from the same larger pieces of timber and as similarly as he could, one for Romano and one for the Powerhouse. These were finished in 2001.
To complete the plan – call in the scientists! Thankfully Professor Joe Wolfe, Associate Professor John Smith and then PhD student, now Doctor, Ra Inta from the University of NSW Physics Department’s Musical Acoustics Lab also agreed to put some tests together on these two instruments to see if changes could be measured.
Apart from physical tests done on parts of the violins during their construction some perception tests were also carried out to see if musicians, both as audience and players, could hear differences in the violins and be able to pick one from another. Another thing we wanted to see was if a violin played by a player regularly and was subjected to different environments also differed in sound from an instrument played on only once or twice a year in a museum and held in a fairly constant environment.
Several tests were carried out over subsequent years to record any changes. 2011 saw the 10th anniversary of the start of what is called the Violin Twins Project and gave a chance for Harry Vatiliotis and his son Michael to come in to the Museum a few weeks ago to see and hear the violins and see how they’ve been travelling. Romano brought his own violin and played both it and its Powerhouse Twin. It was a great opportunity to reunite the maker, the player and the instruments for these informal comparisons.
It should be stressed that this latest comparison was just that – a chance to compare the sounds after 10 years. It was not an official scientific test under perfect conditions. However, the general consensus amongst those present was that both instruments still sound very similar with the Powerhouse violin having a more open sound and Romano’s being a bit darker in tone. However, as the Powerhouse instrument had relatively newish strings and Romano’s older played-in strings this may have also accounted for some of the sound differences.
We’re all waiting to see what these two violins will sound like in 2211!
Post by Michael Lea, Curator, music & musical instruments
The 19th May 2011 marks the birth of one of Australia’s greatest performers, Dame Nellie Melba.
Perhaps the most internationally renowned Australian performer in the period before the Second World War, Dame Nellie Melba was recognised as one of the worlds greatest sopranos with her fame living on to the present day. Born Helen Porter Mitchell in the Melbourne suburb of Richmond in 1861 she made her professional singing debut in Melbourne in 1884. Travelling to London in 1886 with her father she made her opera debut in Brussels later the following year. After further successful roles in Paris she returned to London to perform at Convent Garden in 1889 in the opera Romeo et Juliette to great acclaim.
It was not until 1902 that Melba returned to Australia for her first national concert tour and over the following years she made several visits to her home country. In 1909 she performed not only in Australian capital cities but also travelled to many regional areas. Forming the Melba-Williamson Opera Company, Melba was in Australia again from 1911 and from this point, especially during World War 1, spent more time in Australia until the war ended when she went back to perform again in Europe.
This recently acquired concert program is of particular relevance to Sydney and relates to the period when Melba came back to Australia in 1921. Realising the high price of concert tickets she decided to give a series of “Concerts for the People” in both Melbourne and Sydney during 1922 at the reduced cost of five shillings and sixpence to allow more people to hear her sing. Sixteen concerts at Melbourne Town Hall saw about 30,000 people attend (1). The Sydney concerts, held at the Sydney Town Hall, were also anticipated to be a resounding success with the Town Hall capacity being for 3,000 patrons. The fourteen Sydney concerts held between 21 March and 28th April 1922 were often to packed houses. Of the second concert a journalist noted (2).
She is not a singer whose voice varies much, good health and a perfect production, combining to keep it in almost unvarying perfection.
Later in the series the Sydney Morning Herald reported on the 8 April that, based on the current bookings, there would be 35,000 people attending the concerts. By this date there were still six concerts in the series to go. At her second final Sydney concert Melba announced that it was her 29th People’s Concert (including the Melbourne concerts) and that she had sung to over 100,000 people (3). At the conclusion of the final concert of the series on 28 April she told the audience (4).
“I have never enjoyed singing as much in my whole career as I have at these ‘Concerts for the People’
The following years saw Melba performing both in Europe and Australia, her final Australian performances of her career being in late 1928. Dame Nellie Melba died in Sydney on 23 February 1931..
The Powerhouse Museum’s collection includes several objects linked with Dame Nellie Melba including photographs, audio recordings and concert programs such as the recently acquired program above.
There are also several pieces of costume worn by Melba both in her off-stage life, such as an evening jacket above, and in the operatic role of Marguerite in ‘Faust’ (98/26/1 & 98/26/2 Gifts of Sydney Opera House Trust, 1998) shown at the beginning of this post.
Other objects in the collection with a Melba connection include a ceremonial sword owned by Melba’s father when appointed a member of the Victorian Commission attending the Indian and Colonial Exhibition in London in 1886 (H7080 gift of Keith Wood, 1962). Another interesting Melba-related artefact in the Powerhouse Museum’s collection shows Dame Nellie’s generosity – a Bechstein baby grand piano dating from 1924 which was given to the donor’s parents as a wedding gift (94/270/1 gift of Anne Fairbairn, 1994).
Other cultural institutions around the country are also celebrating Melba’s birthday, The Arts Centre, Melbourne, the The Melba Online Museum lists many events in Melbourne and the The Australian National Film & Sound Archive has links to audio recordings of Melba singing in their collection.
1 Sydney Morning Herald 22/3/1922 p.14
2 Sydney Morning Herald 24/3/1922 p.11
3 Sydney Morning Herald 25/4/1922, p.8
4 Sydney Morning Herald 29/4/1922 p.13
K. Brisbane; Entertaining Australia (Currency Press, Sydney, 1991)
J. Davidson; Melba, Dame Nellie (1861-1931)”, Australian Dictionary of Biography – Online Edition
J. Hetherington; Melba (FW Cheshire, Melbourne, 1967)
B & F MacKenzie; Singers of Australia from Melba to Sutherland (Lansdowne Press, Melbourne, 1967)
Newspaper articles on Dame Nellie Melba at TROVE
The 13th November 2010 marks the 160th anniversary of the birth of author, Robert Louis Stevenson. Some visitors who have been to the Powerhouse Discovery Centre at Castle Hill may have seen his piano which has been part of the Museum’s musical instrument collection since the early 1960s. New information has recently come to light that helps explain what happened to the piano in the period after Robert Louis Stevenson died and its acquisition by the Powerhouse Museum.
Stevenson, the author of stories such as Treasure Island and Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, moved to the South Pacific for health reasons and eventually settled in the village of Vailima just south of Apia, the capital of Samoa in 1891. He was a very keen musician playing both piano and the flageolet and also composed musical works. The piano, made by F Doerner & Sohn of Stuttgart was bought out from Scotland arriving in Samoa in June 1891. It had been sold by Patersons of Edinburgh but it is uncertain if Stevenson was the first owner. The serial number of the piano suggests it was made about 1880, so either Stevenson or his family (possibly his mother) had bought the instrument new around then or else it was bought second hand for the move to Samoa. The former is likely as it arrived with the family furniture and is described in a letter by Stevenson’s mother, Maggie. She later also calls it “my piano”.
A few years earlier Stevenson expressed his passion for playing the instrument in a letter to a Mrs Jenkin in 1886; “I write all morning, come down, and never leave the piano till about five; write letters, dine, get down again about eight, and never leave the piano till I go to bed. This is a fine life.” (From Letters of Robert Louis Stevenson, To Mrs Fleeming Jenkin, Skerryvore, Bournmouth, April 1886).
Stevenson died in Samoa on 3rd December 1894. In 1898 some of his possessions including the piano were auctioned in Apia by licensed auctioneer Mr J Blacklock acting on behalf of Fannie Stevenson (Stevenson’s widow) and her lawyer. Blacklock wrote a handwritten certificate of authenticity and also a signed typed copy that stated that the instrument had belonged to Stevenson, was sold and then sent to Auckland, New Zealand. Thankfully someone (possibly Blacklock or the next owner) had the foresight to frame the original certificate, and with the copy, attach them to the underside of the lid. It seems subsequent owners also continued this tradition by sticking much later biographical newspaper clippings about Stevenson to the underside of the lid and back of the upper front panel.
Out of the blue in 1961 the Museum was approached by the piano’s owner at the time, resident in Sydney, and after some negotiation it was subsequently acquired the same year. Little was known about its history in the period between when it was auctioned in Samoa and then acquired by the Museum.
Thanks to the online newspaper resources provided by the National Library’s of Australia and New Zealand new information has been found about the fate of the piano. In February 1932 it was reported in several newspapers that the piano had been “discovered” in Devonport near Auckland, New Zealand where it had been in a local home and then with a local firm. Several reports claimed that; “It is made of black ebony, and was specially designed to withstand the Samoan climate. It is strongly built, and is nearly twice the ordinary weight.” (eg. Sydney Morning Herald, 25/2/1932, p.8). However, the construction of the piano seems to be typical of late 19th century German instruments in general rather than having been adapted for Samoan conditions.
Then in 1936 the piano makes another appearance in the news, this time in Sydney. It had been bought by the head of a local piano firm, R. Harold Court who was planning to put it in a new home he was having built at Church Point. The piano was also displayed, (presumably while the building work was being done), in an “Exhibition of Musical Instruments of Historic Interest” as part of the seventh annual Music Week held in the premises of Sydney retailer David Jones. Not only was the piano exhibited but it was also played and accompanied a vocal performance of Stevenson’s work, “The Requiem”.
In another lucky twist of fate, Powerhouse Discovery Centre volunteer, Richard Pike, was recently in Scotland at the Writer’s Museum in Edinburgh and noticed a photograph on the wall in the section dedicated to the life of Robert Louis Stevenson. The photo includes Stevenson and members of his family photographed with the piano.
Margaret Isabella Stevenson, Letters From Samoa 1891-1895 (e books: http://www.ebooksread.com/authors-eng/margaret-isabella-balfour-stevenson/letters-from-samoa-1891-1895-hci/1-letters-from-samoa-1891-1895-hci.shtml)
Martin Terry; Treasure Island to Black Spot – Stevenson In Samoa and Sydney (The Australian Antique Collector, January –June 1995, 49th Edition, pp.48-52.)
Curator, music & musical instruments
The purpose of this extended note on Tristram Cary is to provide a context within which to introduce several electronic music instruments within the collection of the Powerhouse Museum. These will include two pre-synthesiser devices, early EMS synthesisers and other custom built objects that are now part of the museum’s collection.
Tristram Cary, an Adelaide based electronic and computer music composer, was a son of the author Joyce Cary, grew up in a musical family and learned to play the piano from the age of five. He entered University (Oxford) in 1943 to study Classics but kept up his interest in music. This was during the Second World War, so on turning eighteen that year he volunteered for the Royal Navy. Having had teenage experience in building radios and other bits and pieces, he gained a post as a wireless mechanic and studied electronics. He was appointed a Radar Officer in 1944, installing and calibrating radar sets on board ship.
During this period he continued his interest in music and began to teach himself musical theory and composition. He heard of the development of tape recording while in the Navy and he realised that he could edit and make musical works by cutting up the tape with a razor blade and re-splicing it. As he later said:
It occurred to me that … here was a chance to have a new sort of music altogether. The editing capacity meant that you could cut sounds together that were not normally together.
He was de-mobilised from the Royal Navy in late 1946 and by then, effectively, a qualified electronics engineer he turned these skills acquired as a radar operator to making musical devices. He recognised that he
could use [his] skills to make [his] own studio, and design [his] own gear, and so for very little money there was a mass of surplus stuff. There was the junk of three armies: the American, the German and the British Army, was in the London junk shops and you could go around, pick up gear cheap, sometimes absolutely brand new still in the original case. Probably designed for another purpose, but if you knew what you were doing, you could make it do something different.
At the end of his time in the Navy he finished his degree at Oxford and then enrolled to study music at Trinity College, London. His background in electronics meant that he understood the theory that any sound could be constructed through the summation of a suitable ensemble of sine waves. With the end of the war tape recorders began to become available in the UK but were the sort of things that only the BBC could afford so Cary used his skills to try to build a recording device disc from a turntable and record cutting head, which used a weight to turn the disc at a constant speed, but it didn’t work very well.
His original attempt to build a disc cutter led him to later purchase a 78rpm disc lathe, with which he began making his own version of musique concrète, recording sounds he wanted to use, manipulating them through amplification and cutting them into his instrumental recordings, only discovering the French work of Pierre Schaeffer and his colleagues later.
In the period of the 1950s electronic music had little presence but there were a few people who were doing things that made it possible to begin to think about it.
Schaeffer, in France, had been using tape recorders to capture sounds from the urban environment to cut and splice into complex musical adventures that brought industrial sound to the radio and the concert hall. The radio station Westdeutscher Rundfunk (WDR), in Cologne, Germany, had assembled an electronic music studio using surplus radio test equipment. Their view was implacably opposed to the French process of manipulating sampled sounds. For the Germans the idea was to produce sound purely electronically using only summations of sine waves. The master of this process was Stockhausen but even he relented by the 1960s when he produced Gesang der Junglinge.
Cary began to experiment with electronic sound in 1947, building variable-resistance tuned oscillators similar to those he used in the Navy and a keyboard with electrical contacts from an old Harmonium. He was mainly writing instrumental music at this point and didn’t produce fully electronic music until well after he moved to Nevern Rd, Earl’s Court (in London) in 1951, where he built a new studio based on disc-cutting machines. The Bradmatic tape recorder became available in 1952 and Cary bought one with which he began composing electro-acoustic and orchestral music for radio and film. His first properly electronic work was for the radio play The Japanese Fishermen (1955), which required special sounds to represent the sea, the fishermen rowing and the mystery of their illnesses, the result of radiation from American nuclear bomb tests in the Pacific.
His first great success was the instrumental music score for the film The Ladykillers (1955) starring Alec Guinness and Peter Sellers. However his primary source for sound was the recording of everyday domestic sounds manipulated with the disc cutters and tape recorder. He continued to write music for radio, film and television producing the sound for Richard Williams’ The Little Island which won the best experimental film at the 1958 Venice Film Festival , and the radio piece The Ballad of Peckham Rye (based on the novel by Muriel Spark and directed by Christopher Holme) for which he won the Premio Italia prize at the Concorso Internazionale Per Opere Radiofoniche E Televisive, Verona 1962.
All of these works consisted in a mixture of instrumental sounds, musique concrète and electronically generated sounds.
 David Ellis, “Music pioneer celebrates milestone”, Lumen, The University of Adelaide Magazine, winter, 2005, http://www.adelaide.edu.au/lumen/issues/5381/news5593.html
 Cary quoted in Andrew Ford, “Interview with Tristram Cary,” for the ABC Music Show. Transcript available at http://www.abc.net.au/rn/musicshow/stories/2006/17/18642.htm
 Kaye R. Fitton, Tristram Cary: Pioneer of Electronic Music in England, Masters of Music Thesis, Adelaide: University of Adelaide, 1983 (University of Adelaide Library – AV 09MU.M, F547 c.2/1-3).
 Andrew Ford, “Interview with Tristram Cary,” for the ABC Music Show.
 Fitton, Tristram Cary: Pioneer of Electronic Music in England. In the Ford interview he says 1949, but the Fitton thesis has a cartoon drawn by a friend of his, showing the keyboard and other bits of valve electronics, which is dated 1947.
 The Japanese Fishermen (BBC Radio, 1955, prod: Terence Tiller) on the CD Soundings.[Tall Poppies, TP139]
Hello, Howard, how ya doin’ friend; next door neighbour. Get your f#%*king jumbo jet outa my airport… Says Bon Scott in the end refrain of the 1976 song off AC/DC’s Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap ‘Aint No Fun (Waitin’ ‘Round to Be a Millionaire)’. You could be forgiven – if you were unaware of the impact Ronald Belford Scott had on the international rock music industry – for thinking Bon Scott a profane and trivial lyric writer. Because, well, he did use profanity, and he did write about fairly trivial things. But it was Bon Scott’s voice, both in an auditory and a literary sense that spoke to, and for a large section of Australian culture.
Irony. Something that may often be lost on certain overseas audiences, but something that drills straight into the core of Australian working class language. Bon Scott’s lyrics are chocka-block with irony. Bon’s lifestyle and proclivities were well known. So consider the lyrics of the song ‘Overdose’ off the 1977 album Let There Be Rock (and consider how Bon died): I never smoked me no cigarettes, I never drank much booze, but I’m only a man don’t ya understand, and a man can sometimes lose. Never drank much booze? C’mon, Bon! But he isn’t trying to deceive his us. We’re in on the joke. We know he’s being ironic. Even the theme of the song is both ironic and a clever use of nomenclature. The metaphor of a drug overdose as an overdose of love. The character in the song is clean of drugs, but addicted to sex. (Of course this is now a theme song for wealthy, high profile men when they get sprung as multiple philanderers.) Another example is the above song title: ‘Aint No Fun (Waitin’ ‘Round to Be a Millionaire)’. Waiting around? To be a millionaire? Only an Australian would make such a statement. The idea of waiting around, doing as little as possible, but in the hope of one day coming into big money. And this not saying that Australians are not hard workers. It’s just an ironic statement. And Australians get it.
AC/DC were a very hard working band. They weren’t waiting around. They were slogging it out in pubs throughout the mid 1970s. And Bon, who was quite a bit older than the rest of the band, had already been doing it for a decade with other bands. The hard work paid off. Each album sold better than the last, and with the release of Highway to Hell in 1979, the band became internationally successful. And ironically, this played a big part in Bon’s death. The band was by no means an overnight success, but playing in pubs in Australia, making just enough money for a feed and a few bottles of Stones ginger wine is a long way from living in London, rehearsing in state-of -the-art studios and having access to as much booze as you want.
Those close to Bon say although he was happy with his success – it was his life-long dream – he was not entirely on top of the world while in London writing for the follow up to Highway to Hell. He was drinking heavily – waking up late and starting the day with a glass of whiskey – according to his Japanese girlfriend at the time, Anna. The week of his death, Bon had asked Anna to move out of his flat in Victoria (London) so he could concentrate on writing. On February 18, 1980 Bon had been drinking all day and went out with an acquaintance, Alistair Kinnear, to a bar where Bon downed glass after glass of quadruple scotches. Kinnear could not rouse Bon from his car when they arrived back at, first Bon’s flat, and then Kinnear’s flat, so Kinnear left Bon in the car to sleep it off.
Circumstance conspired against Bon. It was freezing, he was passed out and his body alcohol poisoned. And Kinnear didn’t go down to check on him until part way through the following day. Bon was pronounced dead on arrival at Kings College Hospital. Acute Alcohol Poisoning was the official cause of death. No other drugs were found in Bon’s system.
No one would argue that Bon Scott joined Jimmy Hendrix, Mama Cass, Janis Joplin, John Bonham and others in that ironic hall of fame. Amazing, original talent claimed by the lifestyle that enabled that talent to flourish.
Bon’s voice is still as loud and clear as it ever was.
A final and maybe bitter irony is that AC/DC, with Brian Johnson singing, has become one of the most successful rock bands of all time. Certainly Australia’s most successful rock band. For many though there are two AC/DCs – Bon’s, and the other one.
The Powerhouse Museum has in its collection not only one of Angus Young’s Gibson SG guitars, but this very cool original iron-on transfer from 1976, and a rare picture disc record which is on display in ‘The 80s are back’ exhibition.
Edison Tinfoil Phonograph, gravity fed model, made by the London Stereoscopic Company (attributed), 1878-1888, H3168
This tin foil sound recording and play back machine [H3168] has been in the collection since 1915. For many years it was presumed to be a model of the original machine designed by Thomas Edison but in fact its story is far more interesting.
Edison designed the first recording machine in 1877 but soon after small number of commercial phonograph machines were made in England based on Edison’s design. While early Edison machines were hand cranked these utilised a falling weight to turn the cylinder. This style of machine appears to have originated in London’s General Post Office after Mr. W. H. Preece, Engineer-in-Chief at the General Post Office. arranged for a tinfoil machine to be made by Augustus Stroh a colleague of his. This was done under the guidance of Henry Edmunds, a British engineer who had seen Edison’s original and had written an article on it for The Times 17 January 1878.
Stroh’s machine was demonstrated at the Royal Institution on 1 February 1878 and when the London Stereoscopic Company recieved a license to make machines based on Edison’s patent the incorporated Stoh’s and their own design features making distinctly British models. By 1886 the company was offering three models, including one driven by a falling weight, and one which was spring driven. After an email correspondence with Rene Rondeau, a specialist in tin foil machines, we believe this is one of the London Stereoscopic Company’s spring driven models with an air controlled governor attached to the spinning axel.
Tinfoil Phonograph, detail of governor, H3168
Edison’s tin foil machine never achieved great commercial success as they were expensive and the delicate nature of the foil surface made them fragile. Instead it was another sound recording machine designed by Alexander Graham Bell and Charles Sumner Tainter, called the ‘graphophone’, which established a popular standard for the sound recording industry. As a result tin foil machines like the ones designed and made by the London Stereoscopic Company fell into disuse although they remain rare examples of the early days of sound recording.
Video killed the radio star. Television killed the coffee bar. Or at least fatally wounded it in the 1960s.
In post WWII Western Europe, the US and Australia, people were staying home to watch the telly; and milk bars, cafes, arcades and nigh clubs began to suffer. Juke boxes and slot machines had become old-hat by the 1960s, and something new and amazing had to be found by entertainment establishments to keep customers away from the box and in their places of businesses.
One such impressive machine was the Scopitone video juke box. This model, made in the early 1960s, was one of several that were imported to Australia from France and the US and used by Italian coffee shops in Lygon Street and the Garrison Nightclub in Elstenwick, Victoria, in Surfers Paradise at the side-show ally on the country show circuit and, in New South Wales The Newport Arms Hotel, The Macquarie Hotel (now the Woolloomooloo Bay Hotel) and in a laundromat in Oxford Street, Paddington (now Ariel Bookshop).
The Scopitone used 16mm film reels with a magnetic soundtrack. The reels each contained many clips, and each clip was accessed mechanically – literally fast-forwarding or rewinding after a selection was made by a customer. The film clips themselves were of quite rudimentary production, and largely from little known artists – mainly French and North American; but there were plenty of very scantily-clad female performers which made up for the lack of production value.
Breakdowns were common, and most of the machines imported to Australia ended up having to be cannibalised to sustain slightly better working models. For this reason, their success, and presence was quite brief.
Despite this, the Scopitone is an interesting object on many levels. It is an adaption of older technology – 16mm film and projection machinery that had been around for decades; and it is a precursor to the (solid-state electronic) video juke box, and to the music video clip itself, particularly the use of almost-naked female performers – such a major part of music industry machine these days. It is also a very cool looking piece of vintage audio-visual technology.
Does anyone remember using one?