History Unplugged Podcast
1h 21min2022 JUN 30
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In the late 1800s, there was an all-out sprint among inventors and tinkerers to create the first motion picture camera. The first across the finish line would get an incredibly valuable patent worth millions. The ultimate winner was an unassuming Frenchman named Louis Le Prince, who died before he could present his invention to the world, and some believe was murdered by Thomas Edison.n 1890, Louis Le Prince, before any of his competitors, was granted patents in four countries for his “taker” or “receiver” device, the product of years of furious, costly work. The device would capture ten to twelve images per second on film, a reproduction of reality that could be replayed limitlessly, shared with those on the other side of the planet with only a few days delay. But just a month before unveiling his invention to the world, he mysteriously disappeared. Three and a half years later, Le Prince’s invention was finally made public – by his rival, Thomas Edison, who claimed to have invented it himself.To unravel this mystery, I am joined by Paul Fischer, author of The Man Who Invented Motion Pictures: A True Tale of Obsession, Murder, and the Movies. Le Prince’s disappearance is one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of cinema history, and Fischer discusses what he and other film theorists think might have happened to this famous inventor and creator of the motion picture. But most of all, we explore the impact Le Prince’s work has had on centuries of filmmakers, and why it is so important to restore Le Prince’s place in history.

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