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Peepshow Pioneers: 1889-1907 

Audiences were watching projected images as early as the 18th century. But the pictures were drawings, and they didn't move. That would come in the 1880s. The first movie pioneers were ... See full summary »

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Episode cast overview, first billed only:
...
Narrator (voice)
Terry Borton ...
Himself - Magic Lantern Historian
Paul Israel ...
Himself - Thomas Edison Biographer
Charles Musser ...
Himself - Film Historian
...
Himself - Critic and Film Historian
Anthony Slide ...
Himself - Film Historian
...
Himself - Sleight-of-hand Entertainment Historian
Jim Zukor ...
Himself - Grandson of Adolph Zukor (as James Zukor)
Carla Laemmle ...
Herself - Niece of Carl Laemmle
Richard Kozarski ...
Himself - Film Historian
...
Himself - Grandson of Jack Warner
Marc Wanamaker ...
Himself - Film Historian and Photo Archivist
Susan Fox-Rosellini ...
Herself - Great Granddaughter of William Fox
Daniel Selznick ...
Himself - Grandson of Louis B. Mayer (as Daniel Mayer Selznick)
Steven J. Ross ...
Himself - Film Historian
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Storyline

Audiences were watching projected images as early as the 18th century. But the pictures were drawings, and they didn't move. That would come in the 1880s. The first movie pioneers were self-taught engineers and tinkerers, itinerant entertainers and street-smart showmen. The first film producer was probably the man known as "The Wizard of Menlo Park," Thomas Edison. He perfected a machine that created pictures that moved, although much of the credit belongs to his assistant, W.K.L. Dickson, the industry's first director. From the beginning, American movies were special, but they were influenced by breakthroughs overseas. From France, the brothers Lumiere, owners of a family photography lab, brought scenes of everyday life to the screen, while an ingenious magician, George Melies, created special visual effects that still have the power to amaze. In America, early moviegoers were astonished and amused by almost anything that moved - from vaudeville acts and boxing matches to ... Written by Turner Classic Movies

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1 November 2010 (USA)  »

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User Reviews

Nice Start to the Series
4 November 2010 | by (Louisville, KY) – See all my reviews

Moguls & Movie Stars: Peepshow Pioneers (2010)

*** (out of 4)

This first entry in Turner Classic Movies seven-part series takes a look at the men and women who really formed what would become known as movies. We start off in the late 1880s as the camera is invented and experiments are being made to try and get the images to move. This eventually leads to the Lumiere Brothers, Edwin S. Porter, Georges Melies and of course D.W. Griffith. We learn about the nickelodeon days and how the likes of the Warner Brothers, Louis B. Mayer, Carl Laemmle and William Fox ended up buying theaters, which would lead to bigger moves. This first entry in the series is pretty good but at the end of the day I couldn't help but feel that too much was left out in terms of some basic information. I'm sure those who have no idea about the early days of what would eventually become Hollywood will find a lot of great information here and there's no question that we do get a lot of stuff but 57-minutes just isn't long enough to give us a true identity of many things that were going on in these early days. We briefly hear about the controversy that movies were faced with but we only hear about THE KISS. There were many more examples and there were many legal battles that movies would face but this is just overlooked. Porter gets mentioned for THE GREAT TRAIN ROBBERY and of course Melies' A TRIP TO THE MOON is discuss. With Griffith we get clips from several of his films but we're quickly told that he made 400+ movies and then we move on. Even towards the end we're told about the big move to California where several names are brought up but not the first person who actually moved his film crew there. Again, this is a very good documentary but I think more time could have been devoted to some of these major figures in the early days of cinema. Leonard Maltin and several other film historians give their views of these early days and we get countless film clips as well.


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