Silent Films

QUESTION:  Countless silent movies have not survived because of the vulnerability of their film stock to being highly flammable.  What was the primary ingredient for this film?
A)  Cellulose
B)  Nitrate
C)  Celluloid
D)  Cellular Nitrous

Movies have been highly popular since their original incarnation back around the turn of the twentieth century.  Americans have loved going to the movies since the beginning, with special nickel theaters (nickelodeons) popping up across the country as destinations where people could experience these new wonders.  These early days found filmmakers experimenting with the images they used as there was no color or sound in films for the first three decades,  When first sound, then color, was developed for films, many experts were confident that no one would want them. Of course those experts were wrong, and nowadays most people avoid silent films as an inconvenience and requiring too much work to enjoy.  Those people miss out on wonderful, creative, and often surprisingly fresh movies made by people who very often risked their lives for their craft.  

One of the most famous of the earliest comedians, Buster Keaton, actually fractured his neck during filming of a stunt for 1924's Sherlock, Jr., when water pouring from a water tower knocked him onto the tracks below.  Harold Lloyd, another amazing master of the comedic arts, was filming 1920's Haunted Spooks when he picked up a bomb thinking it was a prop.  It turned out to be real, and he lost the thumb and index finger of his right hand.  (Yes, we do wonder why a real bomb was near a film set, too.)  The American Treasure Tour honors silent film in the Music Room with our collection of photoplayers, as well as historic photographs and movie posters.  We talk about all of these in the blog, so be sure to keep reading!

ANSWER:  B)  Nitrate.  Cellulose was the type of film that replaced the highly unstable Nitrate.