Annie Oakley Helps Usher In Motion Picture Era

In the race to create motion pictures, Thomas Edison and his team of engineers built the Kinetograph which was patented in 1891. Next, Edison needed subject matter that would be popular and commercial. Enter performers from the vaudeville circuit, traveling acts, sporting arena, and exotic dancers. Edison Manufacturing Company built a recording studio called Black Maria in New Jersey. It was there in 1894 that Annie Oakley was filmed demonstrating a couple of her acts, shooting glass balls and cards. The man assisting her is most likely her husband. This, and other films recorded there, were then bought by distribution companies and played in arcades and new things called “movie parlors.”

Source: Library of Congress.

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