Definitions

Monkeyshines

Monkeyshines

[muhng-kee-shahyn]

Monkeyshines is believed to be the first film shot in the United States. An experimental film made to test the original cylinder Kinetograph format, Monkeyshines, No. 1 was shot by William K.L. Dickson and William Heise for the Edison labs. Scholars differ as to whether the first was shot in June 1889 starring John Ott or sometime between November 21-27, 1890 starring G. Sacco Albanese. Both men were fellow lab workers at the company; contradictory evidence exists for each claim. Monkeyshines, No. 2 and Monkeyshines, No. 3 quickly followed to test further conditions. These films were intended to be internal tests of the new camera system, and were not created for commercial use; their rise to prominence was a much later result of work by film historians. All three films show a blurry figure in white standing in one place making large gestures and are only a few seconds long.

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