54. Movies Outshine the Lantern 2017-06-14T14:59:30+00:00

54. The Magic Lantern and the Movies

The Magic Lantern and Movie History

Another Sears broadside presents a new Spanish American War show in 1899, just a year after Sears’s earlier SAW Show, Exhibit 51. That earlier show was presented entirely with lantern slides. But this new show combines movies and lantern slides. And the “Moving Pictures” get top billing, just three years after the movies arrived in America. The broadside represents a turning point in magic lantern and movie history.

Trouble was ahead for the magic-lantern era. And in 1905 another sign of trouble—a combination triple stereopticon and movie projector.  The heyday of the lantern was drawing to a close.  But illustrated lectures persisted for many years.  In the 1933 catalog of the Pond Bureau, 8 of the 14 lecturers were still using hand-colored lantern illustrations, or a combination of slides and movies.

And, as we saw in Exhibit 15, the lantern was still being used by the US Army in 1965 to document the atomic age.

Archival Notes

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