Italian Cinebox and Scopitone expert Michele Bovi has an amazing new book out on the history of the film jukebox. It's written in Italian with an English translation (the photo captions are just in Italian, though).
It's a very thorough history of the invention and marketing of the competing "film jukeboxes" with interviews of inventors, executives, producers, directors, and the artists who appeared in the films.
There's a bunch of interesting tidbits about folks such as Debbie Reynolds (her production company made many of the US Scopitones), Francis Ford Coppola (who lost a small fortune he invested in the new technology), Robert Altman (who directed at least one Scopitone film), as well as details about the US Scopitones business's extensive ties to the mafia.
There are hundreds of great photos, film stills and reproductions of Cinebox and Scopitone ephemera along with lists of films produced etc. Bob Orlowsky of The Scopitone Archive has an extended section detailing the history of the machines in the US. It's a must have for any serious Cinebox and Scopitone fan. Buy "Da Carosone a Cosa Nostra. Gli antenati del videoclip-From Carosone to Cosa Nostra. Ancestors of the music video"
What's A Scopitone?
Scopitones On DVD
d.u.m.b.o. arts center (dac) is proud to announce SCODOWN!, the first-ever presentation of Scopitones in a contemporary art venue. Originally conceived as a one-night benefit party on Saturday, February 17, the “Hoedown meets Scopitones” genre-bender appears to have touched a nerve among a generation of cell phone-wielding, iPod clad, wired and connected aesthetes, so much so that (dac) is compelled to extend its SCODOWN! installation through March 4, 2007.
Scopitone films are 1960s music shorts, which were distributed on color 16mm film with a magnetic soundtrack. An extinct technology, the Scopitone film jukebox, was the medium for public presentation. The first Scopitones were produced in France in 1960, triggering a Scopitone craze throughout Europe - particularly in West Germany and England - before crossing the Atlantic to the United States in mid-1964. By the end of the 1960s, they were gone.
(dac) will be transforming its gallery space into a barn in homage to the backdrops used in many Scopitones. Complementing the three-week run of SCODOWN!, David Serlin, an Associate Professor of Communication at the University of California at San Diego and Editor-at-Large for Cabinet magazine, will present a public talk, “Reel Music for Real People: Unwinding the History of the Scopitone,” on Wednesday, February 28, 2007, at 7 pm in the (dac) gallery.
According to Serlin, “There's a great deal to say about the relationship between Scopitones and late 20th/early 21st century art. Beyond the fact that Sontag refers to Scopitone films as part of the canon of Camp in her seminal essay, "Notes on Camp," during the height of their popularity, both French and U.S. Scopitones are part of the overlapping histories of amateur and hand-held film and video work, the rise of the "European art" soft-core film genre, automated and coin-operated broadcast technologies as well as post-vaudeville and burlesque forms of popular dance. It is not difficult to draw parallels between the amateur cinematography of Scopitone films and the work of 1960s Pop auteurs like Andy Warhol, Russ Meyer, or brothers Mike and George Kuchar. They also occupy an interesting place in the genealogy of music videos, coming after "soundies" of the 1930s and 1940s and before the rise of MTV in the 1980s. While there are plenty of unintentionally hilarious and camp moments in most Scopitones, there are some absolutely bizarre Scopitones that are worth watching purely for their use of mis-en-scène and questionable directorial choices.”
What's A Scopitone?
Scopitones On DVD
This is an Italian Television documentary about Cinebox and Scopitone put together by Italy's #1 Juke Box Movie expert Michele Bovi, and featuring America's #1 Scopitone guy, Bob Orlowsky (of the Scopitone Archive). It's in Italian but it's still a fun watch if you don't speak it. Go to this page and click on "Videoclip Story".
60 minutes of choice American, British, French,
German & Italian "Scopitone" & "Cinebox" rarities. Chosen especially to be shown at this years WFMU Record Fair.
France Gall "Baby Pop"
Antoine "Les Elecubrations"
"Screaming" Lord Sutch "Jack The Ripper"
Jacques Filh "Laches-Moi"
George McKelvey "My Teenage Fallout Queen"
Peppino Di Capri "E Voi Ridete"
Catherine Rivera Elia "Goldfinger"
Julie Driscoll/Brian Auger "Wheels On Fire"
Vivi Bach "Das Süße Leben"
Sylvie Vartan & Carlos "2:35 De Bonheur"
Nino Ferrer "Ho! Eh! Hein, Bon!"
Joi Lansing "The Web Of Love"
Les Charlots "Sois Erotique"
Neil Sedaka "Calendar Girl
Les Irressistibles "My Year Is A Day"
The Casualeers "When I'm In Your Arms"
Jacques Dutronc "Les Playboys"
The Hollies "Little Lover"
Les 5 Gentlemen "Cara-Lin"
Joi Lansing "The Silencer"
Brigitte Bardot & Serge Gainsbourg "Comic Strip"
Di Giafferi "Sado-Maso"
$15 Including US Shipping