18 user 6 critic

Dickson Experimental Sound Film (1894)

Not Rated | | Short
The sound has been found in the form of an old Edisonian recording cylinder. The cylinder was repaired, then Walter Murch ACE MPSE synced the film to the correct music in (I believe) 2002. Total running time is approximately 17 seconds.


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Uncredited cast:
William K.L. Dickson ...
Violinist (uncredited)


The earliest extant sound film. William K.L. Dickson stands in the background next to a huge sound pickup horn connected to a Thomas Edison phonograph recorder. As he plays a violin, two men dance in the foreground. This film was made to demonstrate a new Thomas Edison machine, the Kinetophone. These machines were Kinetoscope peepshow viewers mated with Thomas Edison wax cylinder phonographs. But the Kinetophone never caught on and this film was never released. The film still exists, but the phonograph soundtrack has been lost. Written by Steven W. Siferd <ssiferd@aol.com>

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Also Known As:

Dickson Violin  »

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Technical Specs


(2003 release)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


The synchronized sound version was restored in 2000 by Walter Murch, Rick Schmidlin, Industrial Light and Magic and Skywalker Sound, which is a division of Lucas Digital, Ltd., LLC (a George Lucas company) in collaboration with the Library of Congress and the Edison National Historic Site. See more »


Man: Are the rest of you ready? Go ahead!
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Featured in Vito (2011) See more »


The Chimes of Normandy
(1877) (uncredited)
(Originally called "Les cloches de Corneville (The Bells of Corneville)"
Written by Robert Planquette
Small section played on violin by William K.L. Dickson
See more »

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User Reviews

Missing sound has been discovered
17 January 2002 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

The Library of Congress has discovered the missing sound-track for this film, which was at the Edison National Historical Site all along. It was a cylinder, broken in half, labelled "WKL Dickson Violin with Kineto" and it has recently been repaired, transcribed, and put in synch with the image. This short film now takes its place as the oldest existing sound film. Before the image starts, you can just hear someone saying "Are the rest of you ready? Go ahead!"

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