Sunday, September 30, 2012

30 September 1911: Amazing News in Pictures

On this day in 1911, the Athens Banner reported that "the newest thing in motion pictures" would surely lead to news that wasn't in the newspaper but available with the 
press of a button at the head of his bed and in a frame over the mantel there will appear in motion pictures of natural color the gleanings of the happenings of the day before recorded by the photo-reporter.

 (click to enlarge image)

At the time, photographs were not common in the Athens newspapers. There may be a reproduced publicity photo to promote a play or film coming to town, but rarely were local people or events depicted in the paper as anything other than text. Photographs of local people and places appeared only in special issues about the city's progress, and even then, these were portraits of people and unoccupied photographs of rooms or buildings. The "action shot" was not part of local journalism, so a moving picture was a huge change from what even the most devoted Athens news junkie might encounter.

Newsreels were quite popular in the coming decades, though newspapers did not go out of business even when one could push a button and watch "natural color" news from one's own bed.  Several different companies would create the news reels, with Athens especially excited by one in 1913 that featured the UGA Freshman-Sophomore Pushball game.

The Elite theater was on Lumpkin Street, and was later renamed the Georgia Theatre

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