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Remembering Forgotten Early Female Documentarian and That Talkies Began Long Before 'The Jazz Singer'

'Amazing Tales from the Archives': Pioneering female documentarian Aloha Wanderwell Baker remembered at the San Francisco Silent Film Festival – along with the largely forgotten sound-on-cylinder technology and the Jean Desmet Collection. 'Amazing Tales from the Archives': San Francisco Silent Film Festival & the 'sound-on-cylinder' system Fans of the earliest sound films would have enjoyed the first presentation at the 2017 San Francisco Silent Film Festival, held June 1–4: “Amazing Tales from the Archives,” during which Library of Congress' Nitrate Film Vault Manager George Willeman used a wealth of enjoyable film clips to examine the Thomas Edison Kinetophone process. In the years 1913–1914, long before The Jazz Singer and Warner Bros.' sound-on-disc technology, the sound-on-cylinder system invaded the nascent film industry with a collection of “talkies.” The sound was scratchy and muffled, but “recognizable.” Notably, this system focused on dialogue, rather than music or sound effects. As with the making of other recordings at the time, the
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