7/28/16

MORE PHONE-FREE NEW YORK; THE 1920s



Here's a very interesting Burton Holmes Travelogue of New York in the 1920s, primarily covering Fifth Avenue and the area between 40th and 50th Streets. There are lots of shots of people walking around happily living life in the present, looking at the streets, the buildings and at each other instead of LOOKING AT THEIR FRIGGING PHONES. There's a terrific panning shot of 42nd Street with the sign for the old Lindy's restaurant prominently featured. The year appears to be 1927, as evidenced by the signs for Ziegfield's 'Glorifying the American Girl' (which played that year) as well as a movie theater advertising 'Beau Geste' (also released in '27).

Who was Burton Holmes? He was the first guy who coined the term 'travelogue' to describe his innovation, which was to make travel documentaries and go around the country combining the films with his own lectures. In a sense he was the first 'videographer', beginning his career in the 1890s with colored glass slides of his travels before moving into the motion picture era.

So revel in the world of yesteryear, where every man wore a hat, every lady smiled back when smiled at, people didn't run voluntarily around parks, headphones weren't worn because music wasn't portable, and nobody ever even considered screaming into a phone on the street. In fact, phone booths used to have glass doors that shut just so that people's conversations could be kept private. Imagine that.

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