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July 23

Fox Film using Movietone

As movies began to be shown with sound like that made possible by Movietone, some silent film stars, like Mary Pickford, saw their popularity plummet.

1926: Breaking the Sound Barrier
Fox Film Corporation buys Movietone
It only costs $60,000 to turn the page in the movie industry. That was the amount the Fox Film Corporation plunked down to buy the equipment to record sound onto film. Noises like bells ringing, car horns beeping, or birds squawking could be added with this kind of technology. This Movietone sound system created a sound track that matched the visual “track” of the film.

The first movie produced this way was in 1927. Though it was the first commercial film released with music and sound effects (like a trolley car rumbling by) to accompany the action, the actors spoke just a few words, none of them synchronized to the soundtrack. The technology that supported that kind of synchronization would come later.
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