I am working on a book about the relationship between the magic lantern
and the movies, tentatively titled, _Cinema Before Film: America's First
Great Screen Artist, Joseph Boggs Beale_. Beale was America's foremost
lantern artist. Between 1881 and 1914 he created over 125 story and
song sets for the lantern, totally more than 1500 slides. Beale
concentrated on the great works of American and World literature and
History; many of the sets are truly stunning.
Using Beale's work as the primary example, the book will argue that
about 75% of what we think of as "the art of the cinema" was used on
screen in lantern shows -- dissolves, deep space, storyboarding,
parallel editing, backlighting, multiple camera angles, animation, etc.
-- though lantern practice did not necessarily serve as the model for
the use of the same techniques in cinema.
I am familiar with recent major discussions of the lantern and
cinema such as Musser's, Barber's, Robinson's, Guida's. I'd very much
appreciate hearing about any others, or contemporary 1895-1914
references to the lantern and cinema.
Also, as a way of dating Beale's work, I'm tracking the slide sets
year by year through the magic lantern catalogs, especially those of T.
H. McAllister and McIntosh Stereopticon. I have found enough of these
to make the beginnings of a matrix; if anyone knows of catalog holdings,
that would also be very useful.
Those interested in learning more on the magic-lantern, or Beale,
might enjoy visiting our web site, www.magiclanternshows.com.
Thanks for any help you can provide!
Screen-L is sponsored by the Telecommunication & Film Dept., the
University of Alabama: http://www.tcf.ua.edu