The men who murdered the silent drama are the four Warner brothers--Harry, Albert, Jack, and the late Sam Warner. History will hold them equally guilty.
They were not the first to make the pictures talk. Years before, Edison, de Forest, and others had caused the screen to soliloquize in empty houses, but the Warners were the first to make the public listen.
The modern talking-picture mechanism was developed in the laboratories of the American Telephone & Telegraph Company in 1925. The telephone engineers, who saw the motion-picture industry revolutionized overnight and "Hamlet" in the talkies by Christmas, called in the biggest man in the movies to witness the birth of a new art. The headliner at that première of the modern talkie was a full-length talking portrait of a gentleman with an imp
Odd and interesting little 10-page piece filled with barely-disguised hatred for the Warner Brothers. The author even accuses young Sam Warner of "running a portable gambling hell" at the age of 12, for working a Spin-To-Win booth in a street fair, charging the customers a nickel for the chance to win a one cent cigar. (Something the author calls, "a cruel percentage against the public".) Oddly heated, with faint hints of something far uglier (the author makes sure to point out that the Warners "are heavy subscribers to Jewish charities"), this book is an interesting reaction to the widespread chaos of the film industry's adoption of sound technology.
Note: several glaring typos.