Concept

Scopitone

Summary
Scopitone is a type of jukebox featuring a 16 mm film component. Scopitone films were a forerunner of music videos. The 1959 Italian Cinebox/Colorama and Color-Sonics were competing, lesser-known technologies of the time one year before the Scopitone in France. Based on Soundies technology developed during World War II, color 16 mm film shorts with a magnetic soundtrack were designed to be shown in a specially designed jukebox. The difference between the Panoram and the Scopitone jukebox was that with Panoram the 16mm films were black and white with optical sound and there was no selection among the 8 short films in the jukebox, whereas Scopitone featured color (in the US produced films Technicolor), with Hi-Fi magnetic soundtracks, with selection available between all 36 Scoptione films in the Scopitone Jukebox. Scopitone films, like Soundies, featured recordings that performers lip synced to, with at least one exception; Bill Lee Riley was recorded live performing the song High Heel Sneakers in his Scopitone. Between 1940 and 1946, three-minute musical films called Soundies (produced in New York City, Chicago and Hollywood) were displayed on a Panoram, the first coin-operated film jukebox or machine music. These were set up in nightclubs, bars, restaurants and amusement centers. After 2005, the word 'Scopitone' was dedicated as a name for type of music video which is highlighted on musicians, playback artists, and composers on screen. Composer and conductor James Horner first used the Scopitone name for his video as a remembrance of the Scopitone jukebox. The first Scopitones were made in France by a company called Cameca on Blvd Saint Denis in Courbevoie, among them Serge Gainsbourg's "Le poinçonneur des Lilas" (filmed in 1958 in the Porte des Lilas Métro station), Johnny Hallyday's "Noir c'est noir" a French version of Los Bravos' "Black Is Black") and the "Hully Gully" showing a dance around a swimming pool. Scopitones spread to West Germany, where the Kessler Sisters burst out of twin steamer trunks to sing "Quando Quando" on the dim screen that surmounted the jukebox.
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