Sam Warner, the father of talking pictures, was born August 10, 1885, in Baltimore, Maryland. From a very young age Sam could be seen as a visionary entertainer. As a kid he worked sketched comedy and perform it for his family. As a teenager he took a job as a carnival barker and discovered in an old abandoned building, a Kinetoscope projector. Sam learned how to operate it, and anxiously introduced it to brothers Abe and Harry. They, like Sam, were fascinated by it and the legend began..
Sam was, in large part, the creative mind at Warner Brothers. He would envision an idea, and usually Harry would then tweek and perfect it. Of all the brothers, Harry and Sam, would prove best at working together. In July of 1925, Sam married actress Lina Basquette and had a child named Lita. Not only was Sam a film connesuir, he was a home connesuir as well. The only movie mogul of the time to own 3 places of residence. He lived here when in California, here when in Maine, and here in this condo when in New York. It was Sam and family, enjoying the fruits of his labor to the fullest!!
In 1925 - Sam approached brother Harry with an idea that would revolutionize motion pictures forever. It was after a vacation visit to Western Electric's Bell Labritories headquarters, Sam envisioned syncing sound with film and urged Harry, to sign an agreement with Western Electric to develop a series of "talking" shorts using the newly-upgraded Sound-on-film technology. Harry muttered the now famous.."who the hell wants to hear actors talk." That seemed to be the end of the talk .. however, the more Sam thought about it - the more he liked the idea and started presenting the idea to a skeptical Harry more and more. By February of 1926, the studio had suffered dropping loss in revenue of WB films. Harry, after a long period of refusing to accept Sam's demands, then agreed to use synchronized sound in Warner Bros. shorts, as long as it just for usage of background music, Harry then made a visit to Western Electric's Bell Laboratories in New York and was impressed. Harry signed a partnership agreement with Western Electric to use Bell Laboratories to test the sound-on-film process. The first film they used the 'sound on film..Vitaphone' technology on, Don Juan, flopped. Much to Sam's dismay, Harry quickly put the brakes on the Vitaphone. Paramount chief, Aldolf Zukor, saw potential in the 'sound-on-film' technology and offered Sam an executive producer spot at Paramount Pictures if he brought Vitaphone with him. Sam, seeing that brother Harry's refusal to move forward with using sound in future Warner films, agreed to accept Zukor's offer. Before the deal was solidified, Paramount lost it's top star, Rudolph Valentino, and alot of profits. By 1927, Warner Bros. was in bad shape. The other big studios, (FOX, Universal, Paramount, and MGM), were putting a strain on Warner to make better quality films at a faster rate. Harry gave the green-light to Sam in whatever he needed to make the picture with 'sound-on-film Vitaphone. Sam anxiously pressed forward and put long, strainuous hours into the film...supervising it to perfection. Nearing the end of production on "The Jazz Singer," Jack (who was working nonstop with Sam on production of The Jazz Singer), noticed Sam started having severe headaches and nosebleeds. By the end of the month, Sam was unable to walk straight. Sam was then hospitalized and was diagnosed with a sinus infection. The Jazz Singer was to debut in days and Sam was determined to be there for the premiere.
Sadly, it would never happen...unfortunately, the sinus infection soon developed into an acute mastoid infection, his and body had now become riddled with infection. Sam's infection soon developed into pneumonia and on October 5, 1927, Sam died from a cerebral hemorrhage as doctors were trying to remove infected cells from his brain. Sam was only 40 years old.
On October 6, 1927 - The Jazz Singer debuted in New York to massive success. The studio spent only $500,000 in the film, but reaped $3 million in profits. The film hurled Warner Bros. to the top in Hollywood. Hollywood's five major studios, which controlled most of the nation's movie theaters, initially attempted to block the growth of "talking pictures." In the face of such organized opposition, Warner Bros. produced 12 "talkies" in 1928 alone. The following year, the newly formed Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences recognized Warner Bros. for "revolutionizing the industry with sound"
Sadly, Sam never lived to see his idea revolutionize the industry...but he will forever be known as, "the father of talking pictures." Visit his grave and leave virtual comments here.