53. The Magic Lantern and the Movies
The Magic Lantern of Edweard Muybridge
The roots of the movies are complex, but one of the clearest cases of moving images emerging from lantern slides is the work of Edweard Muybridge.
Muybridge made more than 10,000 photographic studies of people and animals in motion, many of which he then projected with a magic-lantern fitted with a wheel to move the images sequentially. When spun, the images on the wheel gave the illusion of motion, a step toward what would come to be called the movies. (One reporter called it, “a magic-lantern gone mad.” See a video about Muybridge’s work here.
Even after the movies developed as a separate medium in 1896, lantern shows and movies co-existed for many years, both separately, and in symbiotic forms such as illustrated song slides.