This is topic William Friese-Greene in forum General Yak at 8mm Forum.

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Posted by Robert Crewdson (Member # 3790) on July 30, 2013, 08:14 AM:
Following todays showing on BBC TV of The Magic Box, I thought the following from the Times newspaper of 1st August, 1918, might be of interest. I hope some of our UK members, who were able, took time out to watch this film. pg

The Times of April 7th, 1997, reported that the home of William Friese-Greene at 146 Maida Vale, where he first projected moving pictures to the startled policeman, as shown in the film, was demolished. The Council Building Officer commented 'Who cares?. It was a grubby little building'.

[ July 30, 2013, 10:29 AM: Message edited by: Robert Crewdson ]
Posted by David M. Ballew (Member # 1818) on July 30, 2013, 01:45 PM:
As a big 3-D movie buff, I rank William Friese-Greene as a personal hero. I have read many times that some of his earliest experiments with motion photography were meant to incorporate stereoscopic 3-D as well.

Now, I grant you, the Friese-Greene stereo "movie" camera I have seen looks like it would have only shot a few frames per second, but I think it shows what a bold and forward-thinking inventor Mr. Friese-Greene was. I think he was a great credit to the cinema of Great Britain and an important figure in early cinema, period.
Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on July 31, 2013, 03:16 PM:
William Friese-Greene died a pauper in 1921, and on the hour of his funeral, all the cinemas in Britain halted their films and held a two-minute silence in belated respect to "The Father of the Motion Picture".
Posted by Robert Crewdson (Member # 3790) on July 31, 2013, 04:02 PM:
That's very nice to know that. Do you know if the Orpheus Cinema in Bristol still has the plaque to him?
Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on August 01, 2013, 02:32 AM:
I had a tour of the projection room a few years ago but was not aware of a plaque, nor did the manager mention it.
The original building is now a supermarket with the 3-screen cinema tucked away upstairs, so tucked away that one screen has to use a periscope as it's on a lower level.
It is strange to see two projectors alongside one another and the third at right-angles.
Posted by Robert Crewdson (Member # 3790) on August 01, 2013, 06:28 AM:
Here is a news clip of the unveiling in 1939, 50 years after he took out his patent.
Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on August 01, 2013, 01:25 PM:
I have just got off the phone from the Orpheus' manager who says although she has heard about the plaque she has never seen it in the twenty years she has been at the cinema.

I suggested that perhaps it disappeared when the supermarket was built and the small triple was installed. She agrees that this could be possible.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on August 01, 2013, 02:47 PM:
How very typical of modern society,that a great man, who beggared himself for cinema, should be treated in such a way.

[ August 01, 2013, 05:12 PM: Message edited by: Hugh Thompson Scott ]
Posted by Robert Crewdson (Member # 3790) on August 01, 2013, 03:53 PM:
Michael, thank you for taking the trouble to look into that, much appreciated. Hugh, nothing is sacred these days, look at how thieves steal the war memorial plaques and sell them for scrap. Friese-Greene took out over 70 patents in cinematography. I came across a letter in a paper from someone who knew him and they said he was working on synchronising a moving picture with a recording on an Edison phonograph.

Another great name, largely forgotten, and I don't know much about him myself, is Birt Acres; he brought out a 35mm projector.

Talking of supermarkets, Tesco have permission to build an Express store on the opposite side of the road to a Mini-Market, just south of Oxford. Tesco have put no end of people out of business.
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on August 01, 2013, 05:19 PM:
Tesco had permission to do much the same in my neck of the woods Robert. They applied to build another store on the site
called "The Cloffocks" where a game called Uppies & Downies is
played, a sort of rough and tumble with a ball that involves the
whole town. So far, nothing has come of it. I think that they have
more than likely outstretched themselves as there are other sites
up and down the country where they haven't actually moved.
Fingers crossed.I wonder when the plaque of Mr Friese-Greene's
will appear on ebay.
Posted by Ken Finch (Member # 2768) on August 03, 2013, 01:00 PM:
"The Magic Box" was made as part of the 1951 "Festival of Britain" and featured a number of Britsh stars of the period , many in small "bit" parts. I have a copy on V.H.S. but first saw it at the South Bank exhibition in London at the "Telekinema". Also saw 3d and big screen television there!! Ken Finch.
Posted by Paul Adsett (Member # 25) on August 03, 2013, 01:13 PM:
The Magic Box was released by Derann as a full length color feature. Prints are extremely rare, I am fortunate to have one, but I have never seen one advertised for sale.
Here is my print review:;f=4;t=000071#00000
Posted by Martin Jones (Member # 1163) on August 03, 2013, 01:13 PM:
Me too!
Just how many of our members also saw the Festival programme at the Telekinema in 1951?

Hands up now!
Posted by Hugh Thompson Scott (Member # 2922) on August 03, 2013, 01:44 PM:
My excuse Martin, though not a good one, I wasn't on the planet
till the following year. I still think the poor man deserved more
than what he got.
Posted by David M. Ballew (Member # 1818) on August 03, 2013, 02:00 PM:
Ken and Martin,

In the friendliest way, I am envious of you two. I would have loved to have been at the Telecinema in 1951 and to have somehow met Raymond Spottiswoode, Nigel Spottiswoode, Charles Smith, and others responsible for it.

Alas, I was born twenty years too late for that, and on a different continent to boot.

I would be most interested to hear any further recollections you may care to provide of the Festival of Britain and the Telecinema.
Posted by Maurice Leakey (Member # 916) on August 03, 2013, 03:26 PM:
I was there in 1951. Here is an interesting film for the C.O.I. made by the Crown Film Unit.
Posted by Robert Crewdson (Member # 3790) on August 03, 2013, 04:13 PM:
Very interesting film, as it was before my time. My elder sister was at school and was given a commemorative tumbler. It looked as though Britain was still the shopkeeper of the world. Only 1 year later the poor king died. Certainly something to remember for those lucky enough to have seen it first hand.

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