Figure 2.1

The Vitascope on Location

The Morning Alarm

James White, Edison Manufacturing Co., USA, 1896

Black Diamond Express

James White, Edison Manufacturing Co., USA, 1896

See the moving picture

See the moving picture

See the moving picture

Passaic Falls

James White, Edison Manufacturing Co., USA, 1896

After the success of the vitascope premiere at Koster & Bialís, the Edison Co. and its distributors needed production of a quantity and quality that the Black Maria couldnít furnish. Because scenes from real life were received even more enthusiastically than renditions of vaudeville acts and snippets of Broadway plays, Edison cameramen ventured outdoors, into New York City and the surrounding area, with portable cameras. All three of these subjects were shot in 1896. The first two are early examples of subjects that would quickly become popular staples of the early cinema. In The Morning Alarm (top), a Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, fire company departs the station to battle an early-morning fire. In the center, the Black Diamond express emerges from the woods and barrels toward the camera under a full head of steam. The sequence at the bottom is from Passaic Falls, for which Edison producer James White traveled to Paterson, New Jersey, to capture the scenic wonder of cascading water.

Back to CHAPTER 2/Part 1