Friday, January 22, 2010

Book Talking Pictures

This short item from mid-January outlines some of the financial dealings of the kinetophone, noting in particular the prominent place vaudeville would play in its distribution. In fact, the device would be exhibited almost exclusively on the vaudeville circuit. American Talking Picture Company was in fact an arm of the United Booking Offices, which was in turn controlled by the Keith and Albee vaudeville circuit.
Book Talking Pictures

Edison Invention to be Installed in 100 Vaudeville Houses.

It was announced yesterday by the United Booking Offices that arrangements had been made with Thomas A. Edison whereby his latest invention, the kinetophone, or talking pictures, would be installed in more than 100 vaudeville theaters under its control.

Contracts signed with the American Talking Picture Company, which will distribute the invention, are expected to net more than $500,000 in royalties within the year. One day last week an exhibition of the kinetophone was held at the Edison laboratories in West Orange, at which the vaudeville men were present. Among them were E. F. Albee, representing B. F. Keith; A. Paul Keith; Martin Beck, head of the Orpheum Circuit; J. J. Murdock, executive manager of the United Booking Offices; F. F. Proctor, Sr. and F. F. Proctor, Jr.; M. Shea of Buffalo and Toronto, Jake Wells of Wells’s Southern Circuit, Harvey Watkins of Montreal, Carl Lothrop of Detroit and Rochester, and Mr. Shenberger of Baltimore.

In discussing the matter yesterday, Carl H. Wilson, Vice President of Thomas A. Edison, Inc., said that there would not be any contract made whereby any manager could get exclusive use of the invention. He said that while the selling arrangements had not yet been perfected it was certain that any one who wanted could buy one of the machines.

Source: “Book Talking Pictures,” New York Times 13 January 1913, 11.