The Colorful History of Entertainment

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Throughout history, humans have found creative ways to entertain themselves. We’ve sung and told stories around campfires, watched actors perform in ancient theaters, and listened to the radio during long car trips. But with each new medium comes a whole new set of challenges — technical limitations can dictate what we can do with color or sound like read crosley rochester 5 in 1 entertainment center review.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most significant moments in entertainment history throughout the centuries and across different media. Let’s start by taking a look at what life was like before moving pictures!

1. Ancient Entertainment

Theaters, amphitheaters, and coliseums all featured stage acting as a popular form of entertainment from as early as the first century A.D. to the second century.  Greek and Roman plays used elaborate stage sets to project a realistic sense of place on stage.  The stage itself was backed by a large curtain called a “skene”, which could be rolled up or down to indicate different scenes in the play.

2. The Rise of the Film Industry

Moving pictures made their debut at the Paris Exposition of 1892.  Soon thereafter, moving picture shows, or “movies” as they were called, were being screened for paying audiences, who watched on a sheet hung from a clothesline.  Contemporary critics called movies a fad that would soon fade away.  The motion picture industry was still in its infancy when Thomas Edison invented the kinetoscope in 1889.  Kinetoscopes weren’t intended to be shown in front of an audience; rather they were used for individual entertainment.  The individual viewing the kinetoscope could peer through the peephole and watch moving pictures.  Early filmmakers used this technology for such purposes as live medical demonstrations and news reporting. The first public showing of projected motion pictures was in 1895 at a small business convention in Leeds, England.  Entitled “The Bioscope”, the show demonstrated a series of short films produced by Birt Acres, who was working from an improved version of Edison’s kinetoscope technology.


In 1899 the first actual movie theater opened in New York City. The theater was named the “Black Maria” and was built inside a railway car.  The motion picture industry quickly expanded from there and began to surpass theater acting in popularity by 1903.  By this time, films were being shot on celluloid film with the introduction of the cinématographe by Léon Gaumont. 

3. Color in Film

In 1894, Edward Turner became the first person to experiment with color photography.  He used three black and white photos of Queen Victoria that he colored red, green, and blue respectively.  He deposited these three images onto a sheet of color photographic paper and had friends look at the resulting image with colored lenses.

In 1900, Albert Herring developed a blue-sensitive emulsion for motion picture film as well as a color lens for viewing the images.  He also improved the motion picture camera, which could now produce still images using black, red, blue and green film all at once.  The use of colored film allowed audiences to see the movie in color, something they could not do in theaters.  The theater audience would have to wait until it was exhibited on a screen before an audience member could view it in color.

In 1903, the Lumière Brothers’ film “A Trip to the Moon” used red, green and blue colors.  This same year Eastman Kodak unveiled its first three-color motion picture camera.

In 1908, Edwin S. Porter (1870–1941), who was part of a group called the “Edison Trust” filed a patent for two-color Technicolor moving pictures.  Technicolor was based on an additive color process that allowed primary colors to be used on screen instead of the subtractive method previously used in which two or more colors were combined to produce other colors in black and white films.  In addition, achromatic film reduced the difference between the amount of light that entered a viewer’s eye.  It became possible to produce color images on black and white film and make them visible on a white screen.  The products of this new process were first used in 1923 with “The Lost World” directed by Harry Lachman.

The first feature-length animated movie was “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs”. In 1937 Walt Disney produced his first foray into color cartoons with “Fantasia”. It was an animated music video featuring music from various classical composers.

4. The Star System

The first movie stars were not the actors in the film but rather their studio representatives, who negotiated salaries and other terms of the production with the director, writers and producers.  By the 1920s, studios began to sign actors on contract.  As a result, studios began arranging for “stars” to appear in films.  The first movie star was Mary Pickford (1892–1979), who began her career at age 11.  In 1919 she co-founded United Artists with Douglas Fairbanks (1901 – 1989), Charlie Chaplin (1889–1977) and D. W. Griffith (1875–1948).


The star system was created in the early 1920s.  The first movie stars were not actors, but rather the studio executives who negotiated these deals with the producers and directors.

It was not unusual for actors to sign “term deals” to be used in upcoming films.  These terms varied by studio; some did not require actors to act in any films, while others required the actor to appear in at least one picture per year.


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