This little item carried in the correspondence section of the Moving Picture World indicates that the Kinetophone
was less than successful in its Louisville debut—so much so that it seems that the local Keith vaudeville house was
relinquishing its rights to the device and allowing another theater in town to install it. "The Edison kinetophone has made its appearance in Louisville, B. F. Keith’s vaudeville house presenting the latest
device of the inventor to the public. Largely speaking, it may be said that the Lousiville patrons of the theater enjoyed
the talking pictures, even though some expressions of disappointment were heard. Devotees of the animated pictures,
perhaps, had been led to expect too much, and the performance therefore fell a bit beneath anticipations.
One of Louisville’s amusement companies is now negotiating for the local rights of the kinetophone, and one of its
houses will shortly be devoted to the talking pictures."
- Source: G. D. Crain, Jr., “Correspondence: Louisville,” Moving Picture World 12 April 1913, 181.
- 1912 Edison Kinetophone ads -
"Edison Talking Pictures." The New York Clipper, January 11, 1913 --- 1902 "Chronophone," a French rival in the sound cinema business
In 1913 an improved version of the Kinetophone was released by Edison and nineteen talking pictures were produced
during that year. Large four-inch cylinders now allowed for a six minute running time but the synchronisation between
picture and sound was not perfect and would regularly break down. After a fire at the Edison labs in 1914, a decision
was made by the company to get out of the talking picture business.
(*Note: If you are a fan of the film, Singing In The Rain, you will immediately recognize this speech as being the object of the
magnificent satirical take-off done by ex-vauvevillian Julius Tannen, when he announces the death of silent films.)