Animated Intertitles

How Jones Lost His Roll
R: Edwin S. Porter. P: Edison Manufacturing Company. USA 1905

Coney Island at Night
R: Edwin S. Porter. P: Edison Manufacturing Company. USA 1905

“Porter made one technical breakthrough that elevated several of his comedies from this period to the status of ‘novelties’: it was a special form of object animation. As Porter applied the technique, a hodgepodge of letters moved against their black backgrounds until they formed the intertitles for the succeeding scene. This was done for  How Jones Lost His Roll (March 1905), The Whole Dam Family and the Dam Dog (May 1905), Coney Island at Night (June 1905), and Everybody Works but Father (November 1905). (…) The story, about Jones who is systematically cheated of his money by a so-called friend, is told twice, in words and pictures, with the ‘jumble announcements’ making the intertitles more important than the pictures they illuminate, inverting the normal relationship between image and title.”
Charles Musser: Before the Nickelodeon. Edwin S. Porter and the Edison Manufacturing Company. University of California Press 1991, p. 317-18

>>> Porter’s Pan-American Exposition by Night