| Photography, motion pictures and stereography evolved simultaneously and many
devices of optical wonder were created that conferred movement, depth and color
on images with both simple and complex means. Even prior to the invention of
photography the peep show and magic lantern were popular optical entertainments
in which various showmen ingeniously incorporated depth and movement.
When stereophotography was invented and the market for stereoscopes and
stereoviews proliferated, the use of a blinking eye technique alternately
opening and closing the left and right eye, was present as a simple means of
creating binocular movement of the image. For many years, magic lantern showmen
had made use of mechanical slides to animate the projected image. Rackwork
slides achieved motion through the action of a rack and pinion that were turned
while the slide was projected. There were also pulley slides consisting of two
glass discs mounted in brass rings that turned in opposite directions by means
of two bands and projected patterns of brilliant color or moving shadows.
Brown was a prolific inventor of optical entertainments who was active at the
turn of the 19th century and made many experiments with early motion pictures,
stereoscopic photography and an anaglyphic system of moving picture drawings for
children that he called Magic Motion Picture Books. Brown was the author of the
1903 book Stereoscopic Phenomena of Light and Sight (reprinted in a facsimile
edition by Reel 3-D in 1994) and a mail-order merchant of stereoscopic devices
such as a mirror attachment enabling ordinary cameras to take stereophotographs.
Brown first published red/green stereographs which he called Magic Post Cards
using anaglyph glasses that were attached in 1904. By 1908, Brown had developed
the Pocket Kinematograph, producing Magic Motion in anaglyph pictures by sliding
the red and green lenses back and forth in a cardboard sleeve. Brown
subsequently published numerous children's books which used green and red
filters to create motion with titles such as the Book of Moving Pictures,
Children?s Encyclopedia and The Cinema Book.
A stereo polymath of the first rank, Brown also developed a stereoscopic
application of Pepper's Ghost for live performance, motional perspective which
was a monocular
application of the Pulfrich effect years prior to its discovery in 1922, and,
for his whole life, worked to perfect an autostereoscopic motion picture process
he called Direct Stereoscopic Projection. At the end of his life and up to his
death in 1930, Brown achieved great success as a paper engineer for clever
The anaglyphic blinker has survived to the present day. In 1953 Joe Kubert
and Norman Maurer used it for 3-D Magic pages in the St. John 3-D Comics. A
humorous example from The Three Dimension 3 Stooges instructs the reader to view
the page from the RED lens only. The view through the GREEN lens reveals a
clever twist to the gag that has been set up through the red lens. Other St.
John 3-D Magic pages such as The Story of Evolution in 3-D Tor by Joe Kubert
revealed what happened to the Wooly Mammoth after millions of years of
Harvey 3D Comics also used the technique in 1953 for one page Three D Blinkey
stories which featured two different endings viewable through either the red or
green lens of the anaglyph glasses. This technique was also used for a 1922
anaglyphic feature film produced by Harry K. Fairall called The Power of Love that premiered at The Ambassador Theater in Los Angeles. The last reel of The
Power of Love could be viewed through either the red or green lens depending on
which ending the viewer wanted to witness, happy or tragic.
There have been other more recent examples of the anaglyphic motion blinker
in publication with the Normalman 3-D Annual #1 (Renegade Press: 1986),
3-Dementia Comics, (3-D Zone: 1987), The Alf Stickerbook (Diamond Publishing:
1987) which included a Slide-O-Scope Movie Viewer and a one-shot issue of The
Flintstones comic book in the 1990s.
Theodore Brown's Pocket Kinematograph made reading an interactive
experience years before the concept even existed. 19th century stereographic
pioneers foreshadowed in many different ways the multi-media of the 21st
Brown, Theodore. Stereoscopic Phenomena of Light & Sight (facsimile of
1903 edition). Reel 3-D Enterprises, Inc. 1994.
Ceram, C.W. Archaeology of the Cinema. New York: Harcourt, Brace & World,
Inc. (no date).
Herbert, Stephen. Theodore Brown's Magic Pictures, The Art and Inventions
of a Multi-Media Pioneer. London: The Projection Box. 1997.