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Film and radio were 2 big inventions in the 1920's. These two new venues brought entertainment, and communication to people throughout the country, which changed their lives. During the decade film was used for both entertainment and information. At first there was only silent films, but as the years progressed they added sound. Radio broadcasting also began in the 1920's. When you turn on a radio today, you will most likely just listen to music. However, in the 1920's when they turned on their radio they would listen to music, especially jazz, variety shows, opera, news, comedy shows, and more. In the 1920's, their radio acted as our t.v does to us (Lewis).

Everyday, people listened to the radio. "In the 1920s, radio sales totaled $2 million. By 1922, more than 2 million homes in the nation had radios"(Macmillian). Soon after the audience was 50 million in the US.When listening to jazz, people liked to listen to the "king of jazz" Louise Armstrong. Families sat around the radio and listened to, comedy shows, news, live events, jazz, variety shows, drama, opera, and even more
(Ma'ayan & Barbara). Some of the biggest news was broadcast live, like when Charles A. Lindbergh returned to America after his flight to Paris. You no longer had to wait for the newspaper to find out the latest news. Also by 1928 the presidential campaign used the radio to get their message across. Prior to that, you had to visit each area in person. Another thing the radio did was connect the country into a single nation by, broadcasting big events throughout the country, such as a football game, a concert, or a show (Lewis).The 1920's music industry was very popular in the night life and families would often sit around the radio as if it were a television(wikipedia).

Although radio was a big invention, only about 60% of people owned a radio ( Robertson, Garfinkel, Eckstein, Sullivan, Anna, Steve, Elizabeth, John). A lot of people thought radio was a prized possession. Some people would go to their friends, or neighbors house, just to listen to their radio. Radio changed the world, like what a telephone did to a letter. "Radio meant that for the first time in history, one person with a microphone could speak to many,influence them, and perhaps change their lives (Lewis)."

Some types of systems or parts of different radios include crystal sets, battery radios, horn speakers, AC radios and rotary spark gap demonstration transmitters(Jelane).Also there was the St. Louis Aerial Clock Radio which had four separate digital windows displaying the time like an altometer(Brownlee). On February 23 to March 6 the Marconi Company broadcast from Chelmsford a series of 30-minute shows repeating twice a day also including live music performances, "the station 8MK in Detroit is the first in the world to broadcast news bulletins", the Sociedad Radio Argentina aired a live performance of Richard Wagner's opera but sadly the broadcasts from Chelmsford cease after it is claimed that they interfere with aircraft and ship communications(wikipedia (1)."In March of 1922, the Atlanta Journal opened up WSB in Atlanta, the first radio station in the south( www.southernmusic.net ) ."

Their were alot of radio of stations in the 1920s including KYW, KDKA( Robertson, Garfinkel, Eckstein) WBZ,1XE, WJZ, WBZ,WGI,WDAU,WAAJ,WFAU,WEAF,WGI,WNAC and WRKO(Hapler).


Listen to a 1920 radio station today!

View a Film and Radio mixbook! external image uncle_al.jpg
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"In the 1920's, films really blossomed" ( Dirks, Tim). Over 800 films were being produced every year (less than 500 films are being produced now). Film Productions in the US were mostly found In the Hollywood area or the west coast, but there were some film productions taking place in other places like New Jersey and Long Island. By the end of the 20's there were more than 20 Hollywood film studios. Most films were silent films, but towards the end of the decade, they started putting sound in the films. Most of the films were about swashbucklers, historical extravaganzas, and melodramas. In the early years of the 20's there were lots of different parts of the movie industries, i.e production, distribution, and exhibition. By the end of the decade, there were 5 major film studios that produced 90% of the films. They were, Warner Bros., Paramount, RKO, Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), and 20th Century Pictures.

The Warner Bros. were 4 Polish brothers, their names were Albert, Harry, Jack, and Sam. The brothers merged with First National, and became Warner Bros. First National Pictures in 1925. They later did the Bugs Bunny cartoons.
Paramount Pictures became the official name of what was Famous Players-Lasky Corporation in 1935. There "greatest silent era stars were Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks; Golden Age stars included Mae West, W.C. Fields, Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, and director Cecil B. DeMille"( Dirks,Tim).
RKO Pictures(Radio-Keith-Orpheum) was originally Mutual Film Corporation in 1912.
MGM(Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer). "Marcus Loew of Loew's, Inc., was the parent firm of what eventually became Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer"(Dirks,Tim).In 1924 Metro Pictures Corporation merged with Goldwyn Pictures Corporation making Metro-Goldwyn, then they merged with Louis B. Mayer Pictures Making it Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer."the famous MGM lion roar in the studio's opening logo was first recorded and viewed in a film in 1928"(Dirks,Tim).
20th-Century Fox was formed when 20th Century Pictures Company Merged with Fox. They became famous for their Shirley Temple films in the mid-30's.
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One thing that is really different in the 1920's than today, were they built "picture palaces" that had a orchestras to play music along with the silent films. There was very large theatres, and the largest theatre, which was built in 1927, was a 6,200 seat in New York City (Dirks, Tim). Unlike today, everyone went to the movie theater. They're choices were either to listen to something on the radio, or watch a silent movie. They didn't have all the technology that we have today.

In the 1920s there were many different films.Anyone that could afford it went to the theater to see films. there were more than 20000 theatres nation wide. " A new Pooh Bear story by A.A. Milne was a big hit for little children. Mickey Mouse became every one's favorite cartoon character in Steamboat Willie"(Ma'ayan & Barbra 1 These are some of the films and interesting facts of the 1920s.

In the beginning of the 1920s their were many films. All of the films were silent and their were many attempts to add sound but it wasn't until 1923 when a film had a soundtrack added to it(Literary Digest ). Some of the films in this time were The Mark of Zoro, The Sea Beast, The Phantom of The Opera, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, The Glimpses of the Moon, Don Q, Son of Zorro, Romola, Greed, McTeague, Seven Chances, The Freshman, The Dark Angel, The Merry Widow, The Scarlet Letter and The Last of the Mohicans (Decade American 1). The Sea Beast was a1926 silent movie,with a heroic Ahab, with a fiancee, and an evil brother and was remade as Moby Dick in 1930(Kupper). The Mark of Zorro was a silent motion picture which introduced the masked hero, Zorro(Moeller 1) These were just some of the films in the 1920s.

A 1920s Theater
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See full size image



Steam Boat Willie

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

These are some silent films




The best of Charlie Chaplin

More silent films

Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong were two major influences on Jazz and Blues in the 1920's"(wikianswers). There music was played on the radio which in the 20's was a big hit. Speaking of big hits, "the film industry really bloomed in the 1920's. The first movies were filmed in New Jersey(Derouche and Burton1)! The five best Hollywood studios were Warner Brothers Pictures, MGM, RKO (Radio Keith-Orpheum) Pictures, Famous PLayers-Lasky, and Fox Film Corporation. "The Top Ten Films Of The 1920's were,
  1. The Big Parade
  2. The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse
  3. Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
  4. The Ten Commandments
  5. What Price Glory?
  6. The Covered Wagon
  7. Way Down East
  8. The Singing Fool
  9. Wings
  10. The Gold Rush"(Decade American...1)"
The films of the 1920's were in major demand during this era. Most of the productions were all silent, still, theaters were packed every night.(Derouche and Burton1). Some famous movie stars were, Joanne Crawford, Norma Shearer, Dorothy Gish, Lillian Gish, Norma Talmadge, Marion Davies, Roland Gilbert, Marlean Dietrich, Great Garbo, Fay Wray, Clara Bow, Norman Navarro, Richard Arlen and Buddy Rogers.
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Work Cited:
Ma'ayan & Barbara. "A Century in Review." The Roaring Twenties. 26 Jan 2009 http://www.kyrene.org/schools/brisas/sunda/decade/1920.htm
The 1920s Radio Network Live Stream. 26 Jan 2009 http://www.whro.org/home/html/liveradio/1920s_wma.html
Dirks, Tim "The History of Film." Film History of the 1920s. 26 Jan 2009 http://www.fimsite.org/20sintro.html
Lewis, Tom. "Organization of American Historians." "A Godlike Presence" : The Impact of the radio on the 1920s and 1930s. 26 Jan 2009 http://www.oah.org/pubs/magazine/communication/lewis.html
Robertson, Garfinkel, Eckstein, Sullivan, Anna, Steve, Elizabeth, John. "Chicago Radio Show 1924." Radio in the 1920s. 26 Jan 2009
http://xroads.virginia.edu/ ug00/3on1/radioshow/1920radio.htm
"THE GREATEST FILMS."THE DECADE . 26 Jan 2009 <http://www.fimsite.org/boxoffice2.html#presound >.
Derouche, Burton, Michelle, Molly. "Finley's 1920's project."1920's MOVIE . 26 Jan 2009 <http://www.msad54.org/sahs/socialstudies/finely/1920s/1920gr9/movies.html >.
"WikiAnswers."WikiAnswers-Who were the famous singers from the 1920's . 26 Jan 2009 <http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Who_were_the_famous_singers_from_the_1920's >.
Elizabeth Eckstein , Anna Robertson, Steve Garfinkel. "Radio in the 1920s." 1 May 2000 1. 29 Jan 2009 <http://xroads.virginia.edu/~ug00/3on1/radioshow/home.htm>.
Literary Digest , "1920's Movies." 1. 29 Jan 2009 <http://www.1920-30.com/movies/>.
Campbell, Donna. "Brief Timeline of American Literature, Music, and Movies ." 10/19/2007 1. 29 Jan 2000
http://www.wsu.edu/~campbelld/amlit/1920m.html
Jelane. "Radio shop of the 1920's/30's." 1-10-09 1. 29 Jan 2009 <http://oak.cats.ohiou.edu/~postr/MRT/Tour1.htm>.
.Brownlee,, John. "St. Louis Aerial Clock Radio." 12 17, 2008 1. 29 Jan 2009 <http://gadgets.boingboing.net/2008/12/17/st-louis-aerial-cloc.html>.
Carnildo, "1920 in radio." 1. 29 Jan 2009 <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1920_in_radio>.
Southern Music, "1920s." 1. 29 Jan 2009 <http://www.southernmusic.net/1920.htm>.
Henry Rogers , Sharon Rogers. "Roaring 20s Radios." 1. 29 Jan 2009 <http://www.radioblvd.com/20sRadio.html>.
Alienmaster, "Walt Disney's Mickey Mouse : Steamboat Willie (1928)." 1. 29 Jan 2009 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AEEaT_UQnVM>.
Peter. "Dr. Je kyll and Mr. Hyde - Part 1 - 1920." 1. 29 Jan 2009 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1llArcVIWAg>.
Potanic Then and Now." 29 Jan 2009 <http://www.pontiac.mi.us/thenandnow/orpheum%20theater%201920s.html>.
Newtsamson, "Mickey Rooney as Mickey McGuire Silent film from late 1920's." 31 Jan 2009 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Cvn9R02nICw>.
"BigDogEatChild - The Great Poker Chase." 31 Jan 2009 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qipkz-H8GoA>.
"The Bandit: Part 1 and 2." May 25, 2008. 31 Jan 2009 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qeWAV793DFA&feature=related>.
miahartwell, "The Perils of Mildred." 31 Jan 2009 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IOa6lphLIpQ&feature=related>.
Artis, "best of Charlie Chaplin." 31 Jan 2009 <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CSGXxWVCjvQ&feature=related>.