Timeline of Greatest Film
Milestones and Turning Points
in Film History


The Year 1924

Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones and Turning Points
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1920, 1921, 1922, 1923, 1924, 1925, 1926, 1927, 1928, 1929

The Year 1924
Year
Event and Significance
1924
Animator Walt Disney, for Laugh-O-Gram Films, directed his first cartoon, the 12-minute short Alice's Wonderland (aka Alice in Slumberland) (1923) - it was Disney's first unfinished pilot film. The combination live-action and animation was never released theatrically, however, due to legal complications. The Alice comedies of the mid-20s, as they were later known, were a major stepping stone in Disney's career. Fifty-six Alice comedies were produced between 1924 and 1927 (10 in 1924, 15 in 1925, 14 in 1926, and 17 in 1927). The first Alice comedy short to officially be released, produced at Disney's studio (in a garage in Hollywood), was Alice's Day at Sea (1924), on March 1, 1924.
1924-1927
The Fleischer Brothers made the first animated films (cartoons) that featured a soundtrack, in a series of 36 films released in the mid-1920s called Ko-Ko Song Car-Tunes (1924-1927) - the precursors to karaoke. The first sound cartoon was one of the Song Car-Tunes -- Mother Pin a Rose on Me. They were also the first audience participation films, with sing-along lyrics and a 'bouncing-ball' helper. They included Has Anybody Here Seen Kelly? (1926), When The Midnight Choo-Choo Leaves For Alabam' (1926), Comin' Tho' The Rye (1926), Margie (1926), My Old Kentucky Home (1926), Tramp, Tramp, Tramp-The Boys Are Marching (1927), By The Light Of The Silvery Moon (1927). In My Old Kentucky Home, Bimbo said to the audience: “Follow the ball and join in everybody.”
1924
Actor-turned-director Erich von Stroheim directed the influential Greed (1924), his fifth and most ambitious film to date. It was based on Frank Norris' best-selling novel McTeague about a love triangle and disputed ownership of a lottery ticket. After filming ended (including expensive on-location shoots in San Francisco and Death Valley), it was a 9 to 10-hour epic. The movie was eventually brutally edited down from 42 reels into an approximately 2-hour length before its theatrical release. It was reported that the studio melted down the excised footage to recover the film stock's silver nitrate. The cuts were demanded by MGM that wanted the film to be of acceptable, commercial length - an early example of directorial vs. studio conflict. The final cut was disavowed by the director, who insisted on a two-part 4 and a half hour film. The original print of the film has been lost forever, although there have been repeated rumors of its existence. A restored, four-hour version was recently reconstructed in 1999 by Turner Classic Movies and film archivist Rick Schmidlin - using the continuity script, he pieced together existing footage and 650 stills and placeholders, to create a fuller sense of Stroheim's original film (with its numerous subplots and complexities).
1924
Theaters showed the first double features.
1924
The future MGM studio was formed out of the merger of three US film production companies: Marcus Loew's Metro Pictures Corporation (1916), Goldwyn Pictures Corporation (1917) (known as Metro-Goldwyn), and the independent Louis B. Mayer Pictures Company (1918). MGM was destined to become the dominant studio of Hollywood's Golden Age during the 30s, under Louis B. Mayer's direction.
1924
The first film produced by the newly-formed studio MGM was He Who Gets Slapped (1924), starring Lon Chaney, although it wasn't their first released film - its release was postponed until the end-of-year holiday season to bring in more profits with increased audiences. He Who Gets Slapped also featured the first appearance of the MGM lion (a lion named Slats). The famous MGM lion roar (from a lion named Jackie) in the studio's opening logo, however, was first recorded and viewed in White Shadows of the South Seas (1928) - via a Gramophone record.
1924
The silent, propagandistic, Soviet sci-fi epic Aelita (1924) (aka Aelita: Queen of Mars), at 120 minutes, was both the first big-budget film made in Russia, and the first feature-length science-fiction film (about space travel). Other early sci-fi silent films included Fritz Lang's Metropolis (1927) and Woman in the Moon (1929), and Britain's futuristic High Treason (1929).
1924
F.W. Murnau's The Last Laugh, with revolutionary camera work by the celebrated German cinematographer Karl Freund, virtually invented a host of new techniques for a mobile camera ("unchained camera").
1924
C.B.C. Film Sales Company (founded by brothers Jack and Harry Cohn, and Joseph Brandt) officially changed its name to Columbia Pictures Corporation.
1924
American stage and silver-screen actress Ethel Barrymore was the first film actress to appear on the cover of Time Magazine - for the November 10th, 1924 issue.
1924
Famous director-actor-producer Thomas H. Ince (known as "Father of the Western" and founder of the first modern film studio at Inceville) and studio mogul died at the age of 42, although there was a shroud of mystery surrounding his demise. Although initial reports stated that he died of a heart attack, it was speculated that he was shot aboard wealthy William Randolph Hearst's yacht the Oneida somewhere on the Pacific Ocean (during a birthday celebration in his honor) and then perished about 48 hours later (at his Benedict Canyon-Beverly Hills home). It was thought that Hearst was jealous over affairs being conducted with his own mistress Marion Davies and another yacht-guest Charlie Chaplin. Rumors about how Ince was shot were rampant, but he probably was an accidental victim, although circumstances appeared to show that Hearst had paid off witnesses to keep silent. [Director Peter Bogdanovich's The Cat's Meow (2001) told the tale of the incident.]


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