Market Theater, New Orleans, 1912, from Wikimedia Commons
Welcome to The Bioscope, the place for news, information, documentation and opinion on the world of early and silent cinema.
With those words, on 4 February 2007, the Bioscope made its modest entry into the blogosphere. 1,047 posts, 1,961 comments and 49,513 deleted spam messages later, and here we are having just paid court to the 500,000th visitor. It’s nice to think that maybe one in 122 of the UK population has visited the site, but there happen to have been quite a number of repeat visitors (hello to you all). Still it’s not too bad to have had half a million visits for a blog on a somewhat obscure theme whose most recent headline post was on the digitisation of a 1903 film catalogue.
While I’m in celebratory mood, here’s a list of some of my favourite articles from the past three-and-a-half years – often because of the comments they have generated, because it is you dear readers who make the Bioscope. Thank you to you all.
- Alice – random but cool (the online reaction as the 1903 Alice in Wonderland went viral)
- The Anima lodge (freemasonary in British film industry)
- Cheating on the silents (sites helping students to write essays on silent cinema)
- The dead (the restoration of The Battle of the Somme)
- Discovering Australia (and beyond) (the great potential of the Trove website)
- An excellent dumb discourse (silent Shakespeare films)
- Family history for film historians (researching early film using online genealogy sources)
- First film dogs (the cinema of distractions…)
- A hero of the valleys (The Life Story of David Lloyd George)
- Losing films (resources for lost silent films)
- Medical matters (using digitised historical medical journals to research film)
- Music, maestros, please (listing of silent film musicians’ websites)
- Putting up statues to Charlie (scouring the world for Chaplin statues)
- The Rose of Rhodesia (the story behind 1918 South African film)
- Searching for Mary Murillo (a guide to online biographical research using a little-known scriptwriter as an example)
- Shell shocked (treament of WWI shell shock victims on film)
- The Silent Worker (silent cinema and the deaf)
- There’s no such things as a bad home movie (home movies and silent film)
- Three type of authenticity (the use of archive film in polar Tv programmes)
- Viewing scarlet maple leaves (history of 1899 Kabuki film)
- With new eyes (review of Gerben Bakker’s Entertainment Industralised)
- The world’s oldest movie (from 2,600 B.C. …)
Just to round off the statistics, the most successful month ever was March 2010 (18,217 visits). The most visited post by far remains Searching for Albert Kahn, with 13,212 visits (and showing no signs of stopping). Most referrals have come from cablecarguy.blogspot.com (thanks as always, Joe), and the most used search terms are ‘bioscope’, ‘the bioscope’, ‘albert kahn’, ‘kinetoscope’ and ‘louise brooks’. And by rough calculation I reckon there have been some 500,000 words written. One per visit, a gratifying return.
Luke: Congratulations on reaching 500,000 visitors. You have provided a wealth of useful and entertaining information. I would add that I always enjoy your postings on sports. You’re quite welcome for the referrals.
Looking forward to a million visitors. I hope you enjoyed the soiree, the gala dinner, the musical interludes, the speeches and the concluding fireworks.
In the end the staff at Bioscope Towers merely gathered around the ornamental pond, toasted one another with glasses of lemonade, and returned to their desks. We must reach that million mark before the end of 2012. Then we might even make it fizzy lemonade.