…what was to come with Vitaphone
My excited grandfather, Harry Warner, had a lot to say about Warner Bros. passion for future developments, and what was to come with Vitaphone.* He wrote this about six months before DON JUAN would rock the film world in 1926.
“The reason new developments are so hard to put over, no matter how good they are, is because of the inborn cowardice of average human beings. They are afraid to change their accustomed ways…
Visualization of the final result helps us over the discouraging moments.
Do not forget that we are doing this single-handed today. We are doing it with our own money because we believe in it. We honestly believe the Vitaphone is going to do more good for humanity that anything else ever invented…
If we have a message of friendship or enlightenment that can be broadcast throughout the world, maybe the nations will be led to understand one another better…
The Vitaphone can do all that. There are a limited number of people who can go to the opera and pay seven or eight dollars to hear the great operatic artists of the world, but there are millions who cannot. Some of them want to hear good music, and the Vitaphone makes that possible. These are the benefits and potentialities of this invention that honestly and sincerely make us fight on for it.
If the issue was just money alone, I give you my word as a man that the money I have put into the Vitaphone already all four Warner brothers could live the rest of their lives without worrying.” –Harry Warner, “Future Developments” March 30, 1927
*Footnote: Vitaphone was a sound film process used from 1926 to 1930. It was the most successful of the sound-on-disc processes. The soundtrack was not printed on the actual film, but originally was created separately on a 16-inch record disc. The discs would be played on a turntable indirectly coupled to the projector motor while the film was being projected. The name “Vitaphone” was created from the Latin and Greek words, respectively, for “living” and “sound”.
My great grandfather was Hugh M . Stoller, the inventor of the Vitaphone. I am currently a stagehand with I.A.T.S.E
. Local # 1, working in television and theater in New York City. I have great pride in my great grandfather’s legacy and am glad that you have honored it here. Thank you, Dylan O’Hara.