Phonofilm

DeForest PhonofilmDe Forest Phonofilms
Phonofilm is an optical sound-on-film system developed by inventors Lee de Forest and Theodore Case in the early 1920s.wikipedia
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Movietone sound system

MovietoneFox MovietoneMovietone system
The quality of Phonofilm was poor at first, improved somewhat in later years, but was never able to match the fidelity of sound-on-disc systems such as Vitaphone, or later sound-on-film systems such as RCA Photophone or Fox Movietone.
Movietone was one of four motion picture sound systems under development in the U.S. during the 1920s, the others being DeForest Phonofilm, Warner Brothers' Vitaphone, and RCA Photophone, though Phonofilm was primarily an early version of Movietone.

Tri-Ergon

Hans Vogt
Some sources say that DeForest improved on the work of Finnish inventor Eric Tigerstedt — who was granted German patent 309.536 on 28 July 1914 for his sound-on-film work — and on the Tri-Ergon process, patented in 1919 by German inventors Josef Engl, Hans Vogt, and Joseph Massole.
The Tri-Ergon process involved recording sound onto film using the "variable density" method, used by Movietone and Lee De Forest's Phonofilm, rather than the "variable area" method later used by RCA Photophone.

All-female band

all-femalegirl bandall-girl
Some of the people filmed included vaudevillians Joe Weber and Lew Fields, Eva Puck and Sammy White, Eddie Cantor, Ben Bernie, Oscar Levant, Phil Baker, Frank McHugh, Roy Smeck, jazz musicians Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, "all-female" bandleader Helen Lewis, harmonicist Borrah Minevitch, Nikita Balieff's company La Chauve-Souris, opera singers Eva Leoni, Abbie Mitchell, and Marie Rappold, Broadway stars Helen Menken and Fannie Ward, folklorist Charles Ross Taggart, copla singer Concha Piquer (first Spanish sound film), and politicians Calvin Coolidge, Robert La Follette, Al Smith, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
(In 1925, Lee DeForest filmed Lewis and her band in his short-lived Phonofilm process, in a film now in the Maurice Zouary collection at the Library of Congress.

Oscar Levant

June GaleLevant
Some of the people filmed included vaudevillians Joe Weber and Lew Fields, Eva Puck and Sammy White, Eddie Cantor, Ben Bernie, Oscar Levant, Phil Baker, Frank McHugh, Roy Smeck, jazz musicians Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, "all-female" bandleader Helen Lewis, harmonicist Borrah Minevitch, Nikita Balieff's company La Chauve-Souris, opera singers Eva Leoni, Abbie Mitchell, and Marie Rappold, Broadway stars Helen Menken and Fannie Ward, folklorist Charles Ross Taggart, copla singer Concha Piquer (first Spanish sound film), and politicians Calvin Coolidge, Robert La Follette, Al Smith, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1924, aged 18, he appeared with Ben Bernie in a short film, Ben Bernie and All the Lads, made in New York City in the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film system.

Ben Bernie

BernieBen Bernie and His OrchestraBen Bernie and His Hotel Roosevelt Orchestra
Some of the people filmed included vaudevillians Joe Weber and Lew Fields, Eva Puck and Sammy White, Eddie Cantor, Ben Bernie, Oscar Levant, Phil Baker, Frank McHugh, Roy Smeck, jazz musicians Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, "all-female" bandleader Helen Lewis, harmonicist Borrah Minevitch, Nikita Balieff's company La Chauve-Souris, opera singers Eva Leoni, Abbie Mitchell, and Marie Rappold, Broadway stars Helen Menken and Fannie Ward, folklorist Charles Ross Taggart, copla singer Concha Piquer (first Spanish sound film), and politicians Calvin Coolidge, Robert La Follette, Al Smith, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Later, he had his own band, The Lads, seen in the early DeForest Phonofilm sound short, Ben Bernie and All the Lads (1924–25), featuring pianist Oscar Levant.

Vitaphone

The Vitaphone CorporationThe Vitaphone Corp.Vitaphone Orchestra
The quality of Phonofilm was poor at first, improved somewhat in later years, but was never able to match the fidelity of sound-on-disc systems such as Vitaphone, or later sound-on-film systems such as RCA Photophone or Fox Movietone.
De Forest debuted his own Phonofilm sound-on-film system in New York City on April 15, 1923, but due to the relatively poor sound quality of Phonofilm and the impressive state-of-the-art sound heard in Western Electric's private demonstrations, the Warner Brothers decided to go forward with the industrial giant and the more familiar disc technology.

RCA Photophone

RCAown sound-on-film processPhotophone
The quality of Phonofilm was poor at first, improved somewhat in later years, but was never able to match the fidelity of sound-on-disc systems such as Vitaphone, or later sound-on-film systems such as RCA Photophone or Fox Movietone.
The three other major technologies were the Warner Bros. Vitaphone sound-on-disc system, as well as two "variable-density" sound-on-film systems, Lee De Forest's Phonofilm, and Fox-Case's Movietone.

Optical sound

opticalexciterExciter bulb
Phonofilm is an optical sound-on-film system developed by inventors Lee de Forest and Theodore Case in the early 1920s.
The process (which de Forest called Phonofilm) recorded sound as parallel lines of variable shades of gray, photographically transcribing the electrical waveforms from a microphone, which were translated back into sound waves when the movie was projected.

Una Merkel

One of the few two-reel films made by DeForest in the Phonofilm process was Love's Old Sweet Song (1923), starring Louis Wolheim, Donald Gallaher, and the 20-year-old Una Merkel.
She also appeared in the two-reel Love's Old Sweet Song (1923), which was made by Lee DeForest in his Phonofilm sound-on-film process and starred Louis Wolheim and Helen Weir.

Roy Smeck

Some of the people filmed included vaudevillians Joe Weber and Lew Fields, Eva Puck and Sammy White, Eddie Cantor, Ben Bernie, Oscar Levant, Phil Baker, Frank McHugh, Roy Smeck, jazz musicians Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, "all-female" bandleader Helen Lewis, harmonicist Borrah Minevitch, Nikita Balieff's company La Chauve-Souris, opera singers Eva Leoni, Abbie Mitchell, and Marie Rappold, Broadway stars Helen Menken and Fannie Ward, folklorist Charles Ross Taggart, copla singer Concha Piquer (first Spanish sound film), and politicians Calvin Coolidge, Robert La Follette, Al Smith, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
On 15 April 1923, Stringed Harmony, a short film starring Smeck made in the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process, premiered at the Rivoli Theater in New York City.

Phil Baker (comedian)

Phil BakerThe Armour Jester
Some of the people filmed included vaudevillians Joe Weber and Lew Fields, Eva Puck and Sammy White, Eddie Cantor, Ben Bernie, Oscar Levant, Phil Baker, Frank McHugh, Roy Smeck, jazz musicians Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, "all-female" bandleader Helen Lewis, harmonicist Borrah Minevitch, Nikita Balieff's company La Chauve-Souris, opera singers Eva Leoni, Abbie Mitchell, and Marie Rappold, Broadway stars Helen Menken and Fannie Ward, folklorist Charles Ross Taggart, copla singer Concha Piquer (first Spanish sound film), and politicians Calvin Coolidge, Robert La Follette, Al Smith, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1923, Baker appeared in an early DeForest Phonofilm short A Musical Monologue in which he played the accordion and sang.

Ben Bernie and All the Lads

Ben Bernie and All the Lads is a short film made by Lee de Forest in the De Forest Phonofilm sound-on-film process.

Fannie Ward

Fanny Ward
Some of the people filmed included vaudevillians Joe Weber and Lew Fields, Eva Puck and Sammy White, Eddie Cantor, Ben Bernie, Oscar Levant, Phil Baker, Frank McHugh, Roy Smeck, jazz musicians Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, "all-female" bandleader Helen Lewis, harmonicist Borrah Minevitch, Nikita Balieff's company La Chauve-Souris, opera singers Eva Leoni, Abbie Mitchell, and Marie Rappold, Broadway stars Helen Menken and Fannie Ward, folklorist Charles Ross Taggart, copla singer Concha Piquer (first Spanish sound film), and politicians Calvin Coolidge, Robert La Follette, Al Smith, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In addition to starring in The Hardest Way in 1921, Ward also appears in several shorts released in the 1920s: the Phonofilm short Father Time (1924) in which she sings; another Phonofilm production, The Perennial Flapper (1924); and in the Vitaphone short The Miracle Woman (1929).

Hugo Riesenfeld

Red Seal Pictures
The Rivoli's music director Hugo Riesenfeld co-hosted the presentation.
On 15 April 1923, with inventor Lee de Forest, Riesenfeld co-presented a show at the Rivoli Theater in New York City of 18 short films made in the Phonofilm sound-on-film process.

Die Nibelungen

Die Nibelungen: SiegfriedDie Nibelungen: Kriemhilds RacheSiegfried
"Siegfried", the first part of the Fritz Lang film Die Nibelungen (1924) had a Phonofilm soundtrack, but only at the New York City premiere at the Century Theatre on 23 August 1925.
Siegfried was released in the U.S. on 23 August 1925, premiering at the Century Theatre in New York City in the short-lived Phonofilm sound-on-film process.

Love's Old Sweet Song (1923 film)

Love's Old Sweet SongLove's Old Sweet Song'' (1923 film)recorded in 1923
One of the few two-reel films made by DeForest in the Phonofilm process was Love's Old Sweet Song (1923), starring Louis Wolheim, Donald Gallaher, and the 20-year-old Una Merkel.
Love's Old Sweet Song (1923) is a two-reel short film made in the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process.

Lee de Forest

Lee DeForestDeForestDe Forest
Phonofilm is an optical sound-on-film system developed by inventors Lee de Forest and Theodore Case in the early 1920s.
In 1921 de Forest ended most of his radio research in order to concentrate on developing an optical sound-on-film process called Phonofilm.

Eubie Blake

BlakeBlake, EubieJames "Eubie" Blake
Some of the people filmed included vaudevillians Joe Weber and Lew Fields, Eva Puck and Sammy White, Eddie Cantor, Ben Bernie, Oscar Levant, Phil Baker, Frank McHugh, Roy Smeck, jazz musicians Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, "all-female" bandleader Helen Lewis, harmonicist Borrah Minevitch, Nikita Balieff's company La Chauve-Souris, opera singers Eva Leoni, Abbie Mitchell, and Marie Rappold, Broadway stars Helen Menken and Fannie Ward, folklorist Charles Ross Taggart, copla singer Concha Piquer (first Spanish sound film), and politicians Calvin Coolidge, Robert La Follette, Al Smith, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1923, Blake made three films for Lee DeForest in DeForest's Phonofilm sound-on-film process: Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, featuring their song "Affectionate Dan"; Sissle and Blake Sing Snappy Songs, featuring "Sons of Old Black Joe" and "My Swanee Home"; and Eubie Blake Plays His Fantasy on Swanee River, featuring Blake performing his "Fantasy on Swanee River".

William Garity

Bill GarityWilliam E. Garity
In the aftermath, Powers hired former DeForest technician William Garity to produce a cloned version of the Phonofilm system, which Powers dubbed Powers Cinephone.
Garity worked with DeForest on the Phonofilm sound-on-film system until 1927, when Pat Powers hired Garity to develop a sound system that Powers called Powers Cinephone.

Sound film

talkietalkiessound
Coolidge became the first U. S. President to appear in a sound motion picture when DeForest filmed him at the White House on 11 August 1924.
On April 15, 1923, at New York City's Rivoli Theater, came the first commercial screening of motion pictures with sound-on-film, the future standard: a set of shorts under the banner of De Forest Phonofilms, accompanying a silent feature.

Bella Donna (1923 film)

Bella DonnaBella Donna'' (1923 film)filmed in 1923
All or part of the Paramount Pictures features Bella Donna (premiered 1 April 1923) and The Covered Wagon (premiered 16 March 1923) were filmed with Phonofilm as an experiment.
Reportedly the film played with sound provided by the DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process.

Theodore Case

Theodore W. CaseCaseCase Research Lab
Phonofilm is an optical sound-on-film system developed by inventors Lee de Forest and Theodore Case in the early 1920s.
From 1921 to 1924, Case provided Lee De Forest, inventor of the audion tube, many inventions from his lab that made DeForest's Phonofilm sound-on-film process workable, though DeForest had been granted general patents in 1919.

Lew Fields

FieldsLewWeber and Fields
Some of the people filmed included vaudevillians Joe Weber and Lew Fields, Eva Puck and Sammy White, Eddie Cantor, Ben Bernie, Oscar Levant, Phil Baker, Frank McHugh, Roy Smeck, jazz musicians Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake, "all-female" bandleader Helen Lewis, harmonicist Borrah Minevitch, Nikita Balieff's company La Chauve-Souris, opera singers Eva Leoni, Abbie Mitchell, and Marie Rappold, Broadway stars Helen Menken and Fannie Ward, folklorist Charles Ross Taggart, copla singer Concha Piquer (first Spanish sound film), and politicians Calvin Coolidge, Robert La Follette, Al Smith, and Franklin D. Roosevelt.
In 1923, Weber and Fields partnered yet again for a Lee DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film short, where the team recreated their famous pool hall routine.

Lillian Powell

On April 15, 1923, Powell appeared in a short film Lillian Powell Bubble Dance, presented in a program of 18 short films made in the Lee DeForest Phonofilm sound-on-film process at the Rivoli Theater in New York City.

Screen Songs

Screen SongLove Thy NeighborScreen Songs Cartoons
Fleischer "Song Car-Tunes" series (some titles later re-released by the Fleischers in their "Screen Songs" series, through Paramount Pictures, with new soundtracks recorded in RCA Photophone)
They were largely unknown at the time because their release was limited to the chain of 36 theaters operated by The Red Seal Pictures Company, which was equipped with the early Lee DeForest Phonofilm sound reproduction equipment.