THE TWENTIETH CENTURY TRAMP; OR, HAPPY HOOLIGAN AND HIS AIRSHIP (1902)
Article 2094 by Dave Sindelar
Viewing Date: 12-9-2006
Posting Date: 5-7-2007
Featuring J. Stuart Blackton
A tramp flies over New York City until his machine explodes.
The Edison company put out a number of early shorts that featured panoramas of famous places. This combines that idea with some special effects to give us the image of a tramp in a flying machine passing over a panorama of the New York skyline. Granted, special effects were far from perfect at this time, but the split screen effect here is painfully obvious, with clearly defined lines separating the top of the screen from the bottom of the screen, and these are noticeable despite the fact that my copy of this movie is in such poor condition, it’s hard to make out any details. At the end, the flying machine explodes, but it happens so quickly (and the print is so bad), that I found myself wondering if there was just something wrong with the print. Before the explosion, nothing happens other than seeing the tramp flying around. This is a curio, but little else.