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"Theatre Optique" (1888)

In 1888 a machine called "theatre Optique" (optical theater) was created by Emile Reyhaud. This machine was a revised version of his earlier invention, the praxinoscope. The "theater optique" produced images on a screen with the assistance of a projector and several mirrors. These images were painted on a lengthy ribbon that was attached to 2 spools, one that unwound the ribbon and one that wound it. Next a subsidiary light, "magic lantern," emitted a stationary background on the same screen where the action film was projected. However, this wondrous machine had one defect, the spools had to be manually rotated by a skilled operator. So in many cases, Reynaud had to be the projectionist for his own "theater optique" to be viewed. He later signed a contract with a well known wax museum, Grevin Museum. This museum provided many different attractions. Reynaud had to run His theater optique daily and provide a completely fresh repertory annually. He exhibited his first "pan tomimes lumineuses" (lit pantomimies) on October 28, 1892. Throughout the years he improved his machine. In 1900, when "pantomimes limineuses" stopped showing the films, it's estimated that over half a million people viewed them. Soon, a new style of film began, "lumiere style", where photographs were used instead of drawings. Not far form Grevin Museum, the public no longer wanted to see the "old" style of films. Reynaud tried desperately to compete, but failed miserably. With his stubbornness not to change to the "lumiere style" he was left in the dust. When Raynaud reached fifty-six, he continued to experiment with new machinery, such as the stereoscope. As the cinema began to industrialize, and there was no room for a craftsman, Reyhaud was now poverty stricken and destroyed the only three "theatres optiques" he owned. Everyday until the day he died, he continued to throw his painted films into the Seine river.