MINEHEAD

Le chronophotographe de W. D. Slade (août 1897)

Jean-Claude SEGUIN

William David Slade, marchand de chaussures à Cheltenham, qui s'intéresse depuis plusieurs années aux projections lumineuses, fait l'acquisition d'un chronophotographe Demenÿ, à la fin de l'année 1896, avec lequel il va organiser des séances de photographies animées. Il va faire équipe, jusqu'en juillet 1897, avec Walter Robert Booth, un prestidigitateur magicien et ventriloque. Cependant, en août 1897, la séparation est consommée et Slade, qui vient d'organiser quelques soirées à Swansea et à Weston-super-Mare, se présente à Minehead, pour une séance prévue le 24 août 1897, dans le Public Hall de la ville. Il fait équipe, ici, avec Walter Banks, chargé de la partie musicale et humoristique de la soirée :

Animated Pictures. One of the largest audiences that have assembled in the Public-hall was gathered together on Tuesday evening, the attraction being Mr. Slade's animated pictures, including amongst many other subjects the London diamond jubilee procession. So great was the crush and so early did the audience arrive that the management had some difficulty in dealing with them, and some inconvenience, for which apology was made, was experienced by many who had booked seats in advance and did not arrive until the performance was about to commence. The exhibition of pictures was very successful, the apparatus by which they were shown being a very perfect one, and they embraced not only the animated pictures, which were the principal feature, but ordinary dissolving views, including local scenes, pictures of children, village and farm life, animals, land and seascapes, and scenery of various kinds, all vividly depicted upon the screen. Good as these were, the chief interest centred, however, in the moving scenes, of which there were about twenty, all exceedingly life-like, and they were received with cordial applause. Some of the most successful were a riding lesson, a squadron of Dragoons leaping hurdles, Soudanese bathing, steamer disembarking passengers, a seascape showing waves dashing on rocky shore, and horses drawing stone in a Paris street. The pictures concluded with some admirable moving views of the diamond jubilee procession in London, which were marvellously realistic. Besides the lantern views Mr. Walter Banks gave some clever humorous musical recitals, after the style of the late Mr. Corney Grain, which gave much pleasure, and humorous yarn, “My Awful Experiences with a Whistler,” fairly brought down the house. So successful was the entertainment that it was announced that second visit would be paid to Minehead in the second week in September.


West Somerset Free Press, Saturday 28 August 1897, 5. 

L'article, pour une fois, ne se limite pas à donner de vagues informations, mais souligne quelques difficultés à l'heure de mettre en place les projections animées, même si l'on souligne par ailleurs la perfection des vues. Si les films du Jubilé de la Reine restent sans doute un moment de choix, toute une série de photographies vivantes du catalogue Gaumont sont proposées au spectateur.

 

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