According to the new book “The Inventor and the Tycoon: A Gilded Age Murder and the Birth of Motion Pictures” by Edward Ball, the inception of the motion picture industry began with an unlikely pair of eccentrics; inventor Eadweard Muybridge and railroad tycoon Leland Stanford, who was also the former governor of California.
Ball, a National Book Award-winner (“Slaves in the Family”), tells the complex and sometimes peculiar story of how Muybridge invented stop motion photography and teamed up with Stanford to develop visual media during “California’s frontier decades”. Muybridge, who was also a murderer who confessed to killing his wife’s lover, was hired to document Stanford's Sacramento mansion. Stanford also wanted Muybridge’s help with an obsession of his; to find out if all four of a horse's hooves ever left the ground at the same time.
“The Inventor and the Tycoon” is rife with drama, scandal and greed. The book also focuses heavily on Muybridge’s murder trial, one of the most notorious of the era. It is a dual biography, examining the lives of each of the two men, as well as their fateful partnership and often contentious relationship.
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