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See, Hear and Sing Disasters, Devastation and Destruction

A screen shot from 'Launching a Stranded Schooner From the Docks' 1900.

A scene from Edison's film "Launching a Stranded Schooner from the Docks" from 1900

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Galveston Storm
The storm was so powerful that all the light boats along the dock front were lifted out of the water and washed up into the streets; many were carried inland for miles. This film clip shows the boatmen working together to get their craft back into the water.

The Edison films were among the first to market disaster and devastation to a mass audience. "These films are now drawing immense crowds at Eden Musee and Proctor's vaudeville houses in New York City," according to the 1901 Edison catalog. "This great disaster ... has startled the entire world, . . . and everyone will be interested in seeing authentic moving pictures of a representative American city almost entirely wiped out by the combined power of water and wind." In addition to films, how else were disasters like the Galveston storm marketed?

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VIDEO CREDIT: Thomas A. Edison, Inc.; producer, Albert E. Smith. "Launching a stranded schooner, docks." 1900. Inventing Entertainment: The Motion Pictures and Sound Recordings of the Edison Companies, Library of Congress.