You Ain't Heard Nothin' Yet: Early Film and the Coming of Sound
From November 2, 2010 through May 1, 2011 in Special Exhibition Galleries
You Ain’t Heard Nothin’ Yet is a compact exhibition devoted to that historic technological revolution — the talking picture. The exhibition offers a unique perspective on the technology that changed the movies forever and provides historical context for the work of some of the industry’s most important but least-known players: the inventors and technicians who made the movies talk.
Drawing on the Museum's collection of early sound films, projectors, various sound apparatus made during the transitional years of 1926-1930, and historical research, George Eastman House staff illustrate the story of how and why the silent motion picture began to talk, sing, chirp, boom, and generally play back the sounds of our lives. It eloquently explains why some major stars of the silent era succeeded in front of a microphone and why others found their careers wrecked by sound recordings.
The exhibition highlights the work of Auburn native Theodore Case and his invention of the AEO light that revolutionized sound on film recording and made possible Movietone sound system. It also features Movietone’s perhaps better known, but ultimately less successful competitor, the Vitaphone sound on disc recording system.
Today, looking back from the digital vantage point of iPods, DTS sound systems, and movies available on the Internet, these early systems are astonishingly simple and breathtakingly ingenious. Who knows what sound designers will come up with next? As Jolson exuberantly ad-libbed in The Jazz Singer: “You ain’t heard nothin’ yet!”