Monkeyshines, No. 1

Monkeyshines, No. 1 (followed by Monkeyshines, No. 2 and Monkeyshines, No. 3 ) is an American film essay, made by William KL Dickson and William Heise for Thomas Edison’s labs, in1889 or 1890 .

These tests are recorded from the horizontal cylinder Kinetic , an archaic version of the first film camera . It is an adaptation of the cylinder phonograph invented Thomas Edison. On a glass cylinder, rotating on its axis, a type of recorder chronophotography : objective and movable disk obturator takes frames following each other in the manner of the groove of the gramophone spiral on a supine photosensitive emulsion on the cylinder. After the shooting, the negative on its glass support is immersed in the development products (developer and fixer). A drawcontact- type pull is done, which gives a positive photographic sheet. This one is cut and assembled in a long ribbon where appear the various positions of the target personage. This tape can be examined frame by frame but can not be seen in motion or projected (opaque and fragile paper, and lack of the appropriate machine). The results are disappointing for the Edison team. The invention of the flexible, transparent and resistant film will make it possible to direct the research towards another process, and to succeed to record the first film of the cinema: Dickson Greeting , where one can contemplate the character and his precise gestures.


  • Monkeyshines, No. 1 : The image is blurry, ghostly. A character (probably a man) moves in front of the camera, waving his arms.
  • Monkeyshines, No. 2 : The picture is sharper, but still ghostly. A man shakes his arms and leans his body in all directions.
  • Monkeyshines, No. 3 :

Technical sheet

  • Title: Monkeyshines, No. 1
  • Release date: 1889 or 1890
  • Director: William KL Dickson and William Heise
  • Genre: Essay
  • Format: black and white print on paper (the thumbnails were later filmed one by one at the bench and we can see them moving, which dates well this essay of the precinema period ).


  • G. Sacco Albanese or John Ott

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