On this day in 1894, the first commercial exhibition of motion pictures in history was given in New York City, using ten Kinetoscopes. Instrumental to the birth of American movie culture, the Kinetoscope also had a major impact in Europe; its influence abroad was magnified by Edison’s decision not to seek international patents on the device, facilitating numerous imitations of and improvements on the technology.
In 1895, Edison introduced the Kinetophone, which joined the Kinetoscope with a cylinder phonograph. Film projection, which Edison initially disdained as financially nonviable, soon superseded the Kinetoscope’s individual exhibition model.
Many of the projection systems developed by Edison’s firm in later years would use the Kinetoscope name.
1904 – Sir (Arthur) John Gielgud (Academy Award-winning [supporting] actor: Arthur ; Emmy Award-winning actor: Masterpiece Theatre miniseries Summer’s Lease [1990-1991]; Becket, Chariots of Fire, The Elephant Man, Gandhi, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, A Man for All Seasons, Murder on the Orient Express, The Charge of the Light Brigade, War and Remembrance; died May 21, 2000)
1925 – Rod Steiger (Rodney Stephen Steiger) (Academy Award-winning actor: In the Heat of the Night ; On the Waterfront, The Pawnbroker, Dr. Zhivago, The Longest Day, Back Water, In Pursuit of Honor, Mars Attacks!; died July 9, 2002)
1927 – Gloria Jean (Schoonover) (actress: Copacabana, The Ladies Man)
1930 – Bradford Dillman (actor: Compulsion, The Bridge at Remagen, The Way We Were, Court-Martial, King’s Crossing, Falcon Crest)
1930 – Jay Robinson (actor: Sinatra, Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Sex [But Were Afraid to Ask], My Man Godfrey, The Virgin Queen, Demetrius and the Gladiators, The Robe)
1935 – Joan Darling (Kugell) (actress: The President’s Analyst, The Two Worlds of Jenny Logan, Sunnyside)
1941 – Julie Christie (actress: Dr. Zhivago, Petulia, Shampoo, Separate Tables, McCabe & Mrs. Miller, Fahrenheit 451)
1949 – John Shea (Emmy Award-winning actor: Baby M ; WIOU, Lois & Clark – The New Adventures of Superman, Backstreet Justice, Honey, I Blew Up the Kid, Small Sacrifices, A Case of Deadly Force, Nativity)
1968 – Anthony Michael Hall (actor: The Breakfast Club, Sixteen Candles, National Lampoon�s Vacation, Edward Scissorhands; comedian: Saturday Night Live)