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Grand Rapids in 1856

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First Talking Picture

First Talking Picture

April 17th, 2013

In September of 1928 ads in the local papers clamored, "You'll want to tell your grandchildren that you heard the first all-talking picture. The screen speaks!"


In September 1928 ads in the local papers clamored, “Never before such crowds! Never before such enthusiasm! For prompt seats come early. Every scene lives! Every character talks! New York nightlife seen and heard. You’ll want to tell your grandchildren that you heard the first all-talking picture, Lights of New York, at the Regent, where the screen speaks!”

Reviews of the event reported, “It filled the Regent at each of the showings the opening day and remains for the rest of the week. It is the biggest novelty that has come to the screen during the last eventful 12 months. Its importance lies in the demonstration of the practicability of motion pictures with all lines spoken by the players. Lights of New York proves that talking pictures are practical and highly entertaining. The Vitaphone reproduction presents something of the individual quality of each actor’s voice.”

Vitaphone was a sound-on-disc system using multiple 33 1/3 rpm discs developed by Bell Telephone Laboratories and Western Electric. Warner Brothers became the first studio to adopt the Vitaphone system.

The first movie with some dialogue debuted in 1927, but The Jazz Singer with Al Jolson was primarily a singing picture. When Jolson happened to ad-lib some dialogue on the set it was kept in the film. Capitalizing on the success of The Jazz Singer, Warner Brothers released their first gangster film, Lights of New York, in 1928, which unexpectedly grossed over $2 Million.


Full Details

TitleFirst Talking Picture
KeywordsWYCE; radio; history; Grand Rapids; Historical Commission; movies; talking pictures; Vitaphone
Pubdate StringApril 17th, 2013

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