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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Behold the world's oldest known color motion picture!

In 1901, Theodore Roosevelt became President after the assassination of William McKinley. The Wright Brothers were still experimenting with gliders and motorized propellers. Tsar Nicholas II reigned in Russia and the British Empire mourned the passing of Queen Victoria. A child named Walt Disney was born in Chicago. Guglielmo Marconi used his newly-invented radio to send the first trans-Atlantic signal.

Meanwhile in England, a photographer named Edward Turner was experimenting with color negatives and the recent advent of motion pictures. Among other things Turner recorded footage of his three children, Hyde Park, and traffic in London.

More than a century later and after exhaustive research, it is now being reported that Edward Turner's film is the oldest color motion picture that has ever been found.

Wanna see it? Of course ya do!

The palette of the macaw is particularly striking. But after watching the soldiers marching and the Union Jack flittering, I can't help but wonder what might have been had Turner's process and Kinemacolor later on become more widely available. I mean, just imagine the color footage that could have been made of World War I a few years later.

Edward Turner himself passed away at the much-too-young age of 29 in 1903. But it's great to see him and his work getting appreciated today.