Film poster, Lyman H. Howe's new marvels in moving pictures, circa 1898.
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Colorful film poster depicting an audience watching a movie in progress.

Credit: Library of Congress

Unable to secure a license from Thomas Edison to use his Kinetoscope, Wilkes Barre showman Lyman Howe in 1896 built his own two-reel projector, spliced Edison films together to offer longer, uninterrupted shows, used a phonograph to add sound, and was soon staging "high class" film programs across northeastern Pennsylvania. Soon, Howe was running six traveling companies from his Wilkes-Barre headquarters. To keep his audiences entertained, he added backstage crews to provide sound effects, toured Europe to acquire more exotic footage for his travelogues, and became the nation's first filmmaker to employ teams to shot newsreels and American travelogues.

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