At the Palace

Source: Extract from ‘At the Palace’, Punch, 6 August 1898, p. 57

Text: Then comes “The American Biograph.” Wonderful!! But, my eyes! my head!! and the whizzing and the whirling and twittering of nerves, and blinkings and winkings that it causes in not a few among the spectators, who could not be content with half the show, or even a third of it. It is a night-mare! There’s a rattling, and a shattering, and there are sparks, and there are showers of quivering snow-flakes always falling, and amidst these appear children fighting in bed, a house on fire, with inmates saved by the arrival of fire engines, which, at some interval, are followed by warships pitching about at sea, sailors running up riggings and disappearing into space, train at full speed coming directly at you, and never getting there, but jumping out of the picture into outer darkness where the audience is, and the, the train having vanished, all the country round takes it into its head to follow as hard as ever it can, rocks, mountains, trees, towns, gateways, castles, rivers, landscapes, bridges, platforms, telegraph-poles, all whirling and squirling and racing against one another, as if to see which will get to the audience first, and then, suddenly … all disappear into space!! Phew! We breathe again!! But, O heads! O brandies and sodas! O Whiskies and waters! Restoratives, quick! It is wonderful, most wonderful! Nay, we had almost said, with the learned Dr. JOHNSON, that we wished “it were impossible,” But to wish this is to put the clock back, and the show is over in excellent time to allow of supper and refreshment where you will. Still, just a third of the American Biograph as invented by HERMAN CASLER, would suffice for this particular deponent, and for not a few others. Anyway, the Palace thoroughly deserves its present most evident popularity.

Comments: The American Biograph was the brand name given to the Biograph projector, invented by the American Herman Casler and marketed by the American Mutoscope and Biograph Company. The Biograph utilised 70mm film with exceptional image quality. It was showcased in London at the Palace Theatre of Varieties in Cambridge Circus, featuring as part of the programme between March 1897 and December 1902. The American Biograph appeared towards the end of the programme, and showed a selection of 15 or so films, mostly actualities, over a period of 30 minutes.

Links: Copy at the Internet Archive

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