New Technologies of Entertainment

zoetrope31As promised, I am posting some examples of new technologies of entertainment from the Victorian period. As we discussed briefly, sensation fiction was not the only way mid-Victorian consumers experienced sensations. Zoetropes, panoramas, cycloramas, and dioramas offered mid-Victorian viewers new visual sensations. In the twentieth century, director William Castle introduced a new technology of entertainment to the cinema: “Percepto!” In some theaters where his film The Tingler (1959) was screened, melcycloramaundatedlatrobeelectrical buzzers were attached to the underside of selected seats. At the film’s climax, the film’s star, Vincent Price exclaims, “Ladies and gentlemen, please do not panic. But scream! Scream for your lives! The Tingler is loose in this theater!” This was the cue for the projectionist to set off the buzzers, giving some audience members a surprising jolt. For your viewing pleasure, I’ve included a trailer for The Tingler below.

What do you think about these new technologies of entertainment? Do they help contextualize sensation fiction for you? If so, how? Can you think of any twenty-first century examples of new technologies of entertainment?

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