Thursday, August 7, 2014

More weird shit, late at night

Before the mutoscope, which is one of those things you hand-crank with a lot of pictures on a rotary thing - you know what I mean, you put a nickel in first - well, before THAT even, was this thing, the filoscope. Though you can't see it here, it's just a flip-book mounted on a gizmo so you didn't have to use your finger. The action was pretty limited, but no worse than those goddamned Edison pictures of trains and stuff.

This looks more like an early film than a mutoscope, but maybe it has been cleaned up technically in some way. These less-than-one-minute dramas were thought to be somewhat risque, and a few even showed nudity, or at least titties. They could only be seen by one person at a time, which leant an atmosphere of intimacy. In fact, going to view these supposedly-naughty nickel entertainments is the origin of the term "peep show". Thus they were denounced from the pulpit as pornography, and enjoyed by all.

This lady does a sort of shimmy-dance for 10 seconds or so, then plays around with a chair. She seems to hail from a circus, or perhaps the vaudeville stage. Strong teeth.

This is, well, uh, er, I don't know what this is (or why). Definitely a filoscope, though it isn't clear how the mechanism works.

This one has obviously deteriorated more than the others. The pages seem to have rotted and turned brown. Some of them are missing, so skips and blanks are ubiquitous. I wonder if men snatched individual cards out of these things while no one was looking.

I like this one because you can actually see the thumb. There appears to be blood on it for some reason. The story is the usual sleazy thing.

All cranked up.


  1. I like the chair lady and the boxers. I'm fascinated with obsolete technology. These must have looked a lot better when they were new.