THE MAGIC LANTERN SHOWS of Professor Lindsay Lambert brilliantly combine his skill as a performer, his love of history and his expertise in vintage lighting and photography. The comment of one of his friends sums it up best: You take things that are old and dead and make them live again in new and interesting ways.
Professor Lambert, who has a degree in theatre, brings the magic lantern show back to life with a special twist, adding his own singing and sound effects to the traditional projectionists patter. He has performed in dozens of venues in Canada, the United States and England. Drawing on his own collection of more than 150 glass slides, he enchants audiences with the lore and history of this truly magical device.
As Professor Lambert reminds us, the magic lantern was the first mass audience communication technology. Invented in 1650, the device became more sophisticated with technological developments, including limelight that allowed brighter and larger images. Another advance was the ability to animate slides by moving levers or turning cranks. The effect can be recreated by rolling your mouse over the slide above.
By the middle of the nineteenth century, magic lantern shows were drawing audiences around the world. With its early forms of animation, the magic lantern also paved the way for the motion picture, the medium that would eventually eclipse it.
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