Odd Machines Put Fun in Movies (Mar, 1935)

Odd Machines Put Fun in Movies

By John E. Lodge

MOVIE studio men were stumped when a comedy script called for an oyster that would open its shell and wink one eye. But a New York maker of comedy props welcomed the job. A few days later, he appeared at the studio carrying an ingenious shell made of papier-mache. The two halves opened and closed on a spring hinge and an eye within winked when a studio man pulled a hidden string.


James Beach never dreamed his customers would take home fish caught while watching his drive-in movie.

WHEN James Beach built his drive-in theatre on a lakeside at Winter Haven, Fla., he never thought that fish might be lurking in the waters offshore. But customers began lugging their fishing gear when they came to the movie and Beach soon noticed they were having good luck hauling in speckled perch and black bass. Enterprising Beach now provides fishing poles for patrons who park their autos around the rim of the 420-car lot. The one problem Beach hasn’t solved: free-loaders who pull up in boats.

Thrilling Performances All in Day’s Work for Stunt Man (Nov, 1929)

Thrilling Performances All in Day’s Work for Stunt Man

Billie Bomar, flying stunt man, gambles with death for a profession. His job is to provide thrills.

HUNDREDS of spectators held their breath while Billie Bomar, stunt man of the Howard Flying Circus, crawled all over a plane that swooped, climbed and dove above the heads of the crowd below.

Making the “Invisible Man” Invisible (Apr, 1934)

Making the “Invisible Man” Invisible

AN invisible man running amuck, terrorizing, killing! Solid flesh and bone pushing men over, strangling opponents, dealing crushing blows with fist or club, yet as transparent as air —such is ‘The Invisible Man” of the films—such is the fantastic tale originally conceived by the famous novelist, H. G. Wells!

Great secrecy surrounds the methods used by movie men in making this film, for all new photographic “wrinkles” are guarded by the studios as long as possible. For Modern Mechanix and Inventions readers, however, this simplified explanation of the filming methods is unofficially revealed.


Wouldn’t the cabinet effect the sound more than his clothes would?


Because his clothing might deaden the sounds of voices just a little, an engineer at the United States Bureau of Standards’ new sound laboratory sits in a box.

The laboratory is a miniature theater, where the acoustics of “talking movie” installations may be tested. The audience is made up of technicians of the Bureau. They hope to discover means of reducing the “echo effects” which many theater managers have had to combat since the advent of the talkies. It has already been found that not only the construction and the material of a theater’s walls, but even the upholstery of the seats and the clothing of the audience have an influence on the reception of sound.

GUNS from All NATIONS Stock MOVIE Arsenals (Feb, 1934)

GUNS from All NATIONS Stock MOVIE Arsenals

THE machine guns of the beleaguered garrison, making a last stand, are rattling and spitting fire at an enemy whose rifles and revolvers crack viciously in reply. Casualties are strewn everywhere and the acrid smoke of battle hovers over the scene. It is a critical situation, indeed—or appears so.

Then the director shouts “cut,” and the “dead” and “wounded” arise and brush themselves off. For it is only a scene from a current talkie, and no one is really “wounded in action.”

Inventor Promises Disk Record Movie Shows for the Home (Apr, 1923)

Inventor Promises Disk Record Movie Shows for the Home

Film Projector Runs like a Talking Machine WHAT Edison did with the talking machine; what Bell did with the telephone; what Ford did with the automobile, C. Francis Jenkins, inventor, of Washington, D. C, now proposes to do with the movies.

Amateurs Capture ACTION for the NEWSREELS (May, 1936)

I had no idea that panning a camera used to be called panoraming. Saying: “Don’t panoram or tilt unless absolutely necessary” just sounds weird.

Amateurs Capture ACTION for the NEWSREELS

When a peaceful valley suddenly becomes the scene of a roaring flood, the amateur news cameraman is on the job. Where hurricanes rage or great explosions take their toll, the newsreels depend upon alert amateurs. This article tells how it is done.


PRISON sirens howl as a band of desperate convicts blaze their way out of the penitentiary with smuggled guns. Hot on their trail follows an amateur cameraman. He photographs scenes of the resulting confusion, the hurried marshalling of police cars, the armed guards pacing the prison walls, the excited crowd of curiosity seekers, and gets human-interest shots overlooked by professional news-reel men.

When Hollywood STARS TURN To HOBBIES (May, 1936)



WHILE their images are engaged in entertaining millions of people in theaters all over the world, Hollywood stars can be found entertaining themselves—in their workshops. And while their images flash across the screen, garbed in sophisticated evening apparel, gay costumes of former periods, or flashy uniforms, the stars are hard at work in grease stained coveralls, dungarees and sweat shirts, or the first old garments to come to hand.

MAKEUP SECRETS of Movie HORROR Pictures (Feb, 1933)


When you shudder at the sight of frightful characters in horror movies, it is usually the makeup man who is responsible for your thrills. Read here how he creates actors that terrify you.


FROM the depths of an ancient casket a bony and shriveled hand stretched back across history thirty-seven centuries to snatch a scroll from a terror-stricken actress.

Deep, gray lines of age streaked the hand. Dust fell from ancient fingers. Yet it moved, actually grasped the parchment, and disappeared from the screen.

Outside the camera angle sat Boris Karloff. It was his hand whose antiquity the camera revealed, a hand “mummified” earlier in the morning by Jack Pierce, movie make-up expert, who recently produced a living mummy in the person of Karloff, complete in 1500 feet of rotted cloth bandages, wrinkled skin, closed eyes and the yellow hair of a person dead many centuries.