Film History

Mark Twain Edison Footage

In 1909, Samuel Clemens (aka Mark Twain) would turn 73 years old and spend a lot of his time at his homestead in Redding, Connecticut. This was decades after giving birth to American literature, making friends with Tesla and fighting ghosts or whatever supernatural beast writers will faddishly shove into his autobiography. It was also a troublesome  year. It was the year his youngest daughter Jean as well as his close friend Henry Rogers died, and it’s the same year that he predicted his own demise to coincide with Halley’s Comet (just as he’d come into the world). He was right. The next year, he died. Right on schedule with the comet. But 1909 also saw good friend Thomas Edison visit Twain and his family in Redding to capture some moving images. A bit of the footage ended up in the short film The Prince and the Pauper, but it holds the unique distinction of being the only known footage of Twain out there. Check it out for yourself:


The Best Short Films

Why Watch? Because all cat videos deserve to go viral. The most prevalent non-porn, non-Netflix use of the internet seems to be videos, pictures, and jokes about cats. In fact, it’s a safe bet that some people use Netflix specifically and exclusively to watch feline-based movies. There’s nothing simpler. You get a cat doing something ridiculous, post it up, and pretty soon it’s being emailed and embedded everywhere while red staplers go missing and TPS reports go undone. The popularity of the meme seems incredibly fascinating in light of the fact that it was born over a century ago. Étienne-Jules Marey‘s experiments with cronophotography were instrumental in the early birth of the artform (both film and cat-based entertainment). Not only did he create a devise that would take 12 consecutive frames that were all recorded onto one singular image, the devise was a gun. Imagine having a rifle pointed at you and told to act. That’s basically how this cat must have felt at the hands of Marey’s photographic gun. But enough talk. Time for cat videos! What does it cost? Less than 1 second of your time. Check out Falling Cat for yourself:



In WWII, Dr. Seuss worked for the War Department creating educational cartoons for troops. They just happened to include some fantastic racial stereotypes, bare-breasted ladies, and dirty double entendre.



The Lumiere Brothers cast a dancing spell our way with a hand-colored short film (or what was called a “long film” then) featuring a young lady swirling her dress as she dances. Hand-colored. Frame by frame. You’ve never committed to anything that serious or long term in your life.

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published: 01.31.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.30.2015
published: 01.29.2015

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