Music, Sound, and the Moving Image

Empowering Cinema Operators in the USA and UK, 1927–1933

Music, Sound, and the Moving Image (2018), 12, (2), 217–240.

Abstract

When cinema owners and managers in the USA and the United Kingdom wired their theatres for sound, most of them promptly dismissed their orchestras. As a consequence of that and other economic, technical, and aesthetic alterations then underway in the cinema business, a significant change occurred in relations between exhibitors and a key group of employees in the years from 1927 to 1933. These were the workers (generally known as ‘operators’) responsible for screening the films.

This article focuses on the changes that the introduction of recorded sound, together with alterations in the business and political environments, brought to operators’ workplace duties and conditions of employment in both the United States of America and the United Kingdom.

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Izod, John