Technicolor - Monday, July 20, 2015

We here at the American Treasure Tour blog love to talk about the stories behind the different items included in our collection.  The cars (and car makers), the band organs (and band organ makers), the movies, et cetera.  How often have you seen a movie - usually the older films - in , which the phrase "Color by Technicolor" is brightly shown on screen for a few seconds during the opening credits?  Well, we decided we wanted to learn a little about the story of this major leap forward in film, into color, only to realize we really don't understand the science behind it very well.  Undeterred, we're going to try not only to explain it, but do it briefly and concisely.  In other words, please don't judge too harshly, you Technicolor experts out there.

The company Technicolor was established in 1914 by three graduates of MIT (the Massachusetts Institute of TECHnology.  Get it?):  Herbert Kalmus and Daniel Frost Comstock, and W. Burton Wescott.  Comstock and Wescott were the scientists, Kalmus the money man.  Truth be told, they rarely made much money in the early days, but America was so hungry for color films (even moreso than talking pictures!), that they managed to survive as they developed and improved their process.  It required big, bulky cameras that would film in multiple (first two, then three) colors, then blend the colors together in playback.  The film itself required super-large and bulky cameras and extraordinary amounts of light for the exposure.  Their first big success came in 1937.  They had tried their technique on live-action dramas, but it was Walt Disney's Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs that made Technicolor the number one color processor in the United States.  They remained in business into the 1970s, but the last film that officially incorporated any Technicolor elements was 1974's The Godfather, Part II. 
QUESTION:  What was the first full length feature film to be presented in Technocolor, in 1935?
A)  Mutiny on the Bounty
B)  Becky Sharp
C)  The 39 Steps
D)  David Copperfield

WHEELS AHOY!  Everything starts somewhere, and automobile manufacturers are certainly no exception.  On this day in 1903, a little-known but ambitious entrepreneur who had named his company after himself shipped out the very first sample of his new car to a prospective buyer. It seems inconsequential today, but that man's name was Henry Ford, and he would turn that little company into one of the most powerful businesses the world had ever seen.  In fact, the Ford Motor Company has done more to shape the world we live in today than arguably any other business out there.  They still sell cars, too.  But, 112 days ago today, they only officially had one car on the streets.

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUDY.  Judy Greer turns forty today.  The character actor/comedienne has appeared consistently in television and film since the late nineties, and her career is definitely going strong, with recent performances in films including three appearing this summer:  Tomorrowland, Jurassic World, AND Antman.  Keep it up, Judy!

QUOTE:  Sometimes when you're given hurdles, it makes you more creative in the end.  - Judy Greer

ANSWER:  B)  Becky Sharp, starring Miriam Hopkins and Cedric Hardwicke