Comic-Strip “Talkies” (Dec, 1933)

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Comic-Strip “Talkies”


By Morton Bartlett

UNIQUE comic-strip “talkies” can be given in your own home at trifling cost. The pictures are thrown upon a screen by means of a simply made magic lantern, and the children speak the lines of the various characters through a home microphone connected to an ordinary radio receiving set.

The materials are listed on page 85. The first step is to make the lantern. Its width is equal to the focal length of the magnifying glass which will be the lens. Determine this by tacking a piece of paper against the wall 10 ft. from a lighted lamp. Hold a ruler perpendicular to the paper, and run the lens, perpendicular to the ruler, along the inch marks. At some point a clear image of the lamp will be seen on the paper. The focal length may now be read from the ruler. This distance is the dimension YM in the drawings. Having found this basic dimension, cut ten pieces of wood as specified in the list.

Cut a round hole in the center of piece A to receive the lens assembly. Its diameter is the diameter of the lens, frame removed, plus the thickness of five pieces of fiber board.

Assemble pieces D, A, A1, B, B1. Make the saw cuts indicated by S and S1 flush with the back and 5 in. long. C and C1 are now nailed, and nails are run through them into the two unsecured corners of B and B1. The top is left separate to allow access to the interior. Ventilation need not be considered as plenty of air will circulate through the cracks.

The reflectors are tin cans. Remove tops and bottoms, split up the sides, and spread open enough to fit them into the front corners of the lantern. Polish them with scouring soap, and secure in place so that they will come directly behind the bulbs. Screw the lamp receptacles just far enough from the tin to permit inserting the bulbs without letting them touch at the sides. Wire the receptacles in parallel.

To make the mount for the lens, cut a piece of the fiber board 2 by 3-1/2 times the diameter of the lens. Round it into a tube (marked IT in the drawings) in which the lens fits snugly, and glue the seam. Make two diaphragms DI for the lens of the same material as the tubes, cutting them as shown. The diameter of the circle encompassed by the dotted line is exactly the diameter of the lens and that represented by the solid line, 1/2 in. less. The tabs are 1/2 in. long. Insert tube IT in the hole in the front of the lantern to hold it steady as you place the lens and diaphragms as shown in the cross-section drawing and one of the photographs.

The outer tube (marked OT) is also cut from the fiber, measured off 1/4 in. longer than the flat dimension of IT, and 1 in. narrower. Cut 1/2-in. tabs along the entire length of one side. Bend it firmly around IT and glue the seam. When dry, insert it in the hole in the lantern, tabs toward the inside. Bend the tabs and tack them to the wood. Tube IT should be able to slide easily within OT.

The last step is to make the “reel.” Cut the comics into strips, leaving a 1/2-in. margin at the left-hand end of each. The margin on each new strip will go under the close-cut end of the preceding. A leader—a paper strip 1 ft. long—is pasted on the left of the completed reel; when the reel is rolled up, this leader will be on the outside. It is fed through slot S and out through S1, with the pictures upside down. To keep the pictures flush with the back of the lantern and in focus, it is most convenient to cut two pieces of the fiber 7 by 3 in. These are curled a bit and thumbtacked in place over the strip.

For a test showing, suspend a sheet in front of the radio, place the lantern about 8 ft. away, darken the room, and light the bulbs. Slide the lens back and forth until the image is clear and sharp. Experiment with the lantern at different distances.

For the reading of the parts, it is most convenient to buy a second copy of the paper. Although the entire picture is shown on the screen, the audience will not read the lettering, which is all reversed.

Hook up the microphone according to the instructions coming with it, carry it to the actors, who should be stationed beyond sufficient sound insulation so that there will be no tendency for the radio set to start “howling,” and make a final test. Speak clearly, not loudly, with the mouth about 6 in. from the instrument.

List of Materials

About 4 sq. ft. of any lumber cut into ten pieces as follows:

D, Dl 13 in. by YM

A, A1 7 in. by 13 in. less twice the

thickness of the wood used

B, Bl 6 in. by YM

C, Cl 1 in. by YM.

E, El 1-1/2 in. by YM less twice the thickness of the wood used 2 tin cans 2 flat-base lamp receptacles

1 magnifying glass at least 2 in. in diameter

Some flexible cardboard or bookbinder’s

fiber board Lamp cord and connecting plug

2 lamps, 100-watt

Sheet to serve as a screen

1 home-broadcasting microphone (costing

in this case 55 cents) Radio receiving set

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