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Thomas Edison (1847 - 1931)

The Kiss (1896) - William Heise


Thomas Alva Edison (February 11, 1847 - October 18, 1931) was an inventor and businessman who developed many important devices. "The Wizard of Menlo Park" was one of the first inventors to apply the principles of mass production to the process of invention. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Edison [Feb 2005]

The Kiss (1896) - William Heise

When Edison invented the moving pictures, the pornographic potential of this new media was, of course, too obvious to be overlooked, and very soon a prosperous, underground production of 'blue movies' began, particularly in South America. In fact, Edison himself produced an erotic motion picture as early as in 1886; called The Kiss (1896) . It created a public scandal, and was a tremendous success. The film was not pornographic, of course, but heralded a new era in the erotic industry which has now, in very recent years, reached another stage with the video tape, cable and satellite television productions of pornography. --Sex Industry and Public Policy http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/proceedings/14/kutchinsky.pdf

Electrocuting an Elephant (1903) - Thomas Edison

This is a film taken of the execution of Topsy, an elephant employed to help build Luna Park on Coney Island. She had killed three men, including a drunken spectator who fed her a cigarette. Cyanide-laced carrots fed to her by park officials failed, and the ASPCA forbade a hanging. Thomas Edison, meanwhile, had been publicly killing dogs and cats with AC power to show that his DC power was more effective and less dangerous. Edison performed the execution of Topsy and captured it on film, though the brief short shows only the event, and not the background behind it. It makes a disturbing sight, particularly embedded in Errol Morris's _Mr. Death: The Rise and Fall of Fred A Leuchter, Jr._. --Summary written by Scott Andrew Hutchins {scottandrewh@home.com} for imdb.com

Topsy, the famous "Baby" elephant, was electrocuted at Coney Island on January 4, 1903. We secured an excellent picture of the execution. The scene opens with keeper leading Topsy to the place of execution. After copper plates or electrodes were fastened to her feet, 6,600 volts of electricity were turned on. The elephant is seen to become rigid, throwing her trunk in the air, and then is completely enveloped in smoke from the burning electrodes. The current is cut off and she falls forward to the ground dead. --Summary written by Edison Catalog for imdb.com

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