{ subscribe_url: '/share/sites/library-of-congress-blogs/navcc.php' }

How Radio Works (or) The Wizardry of Wireless (1922)

I spent a good deal of early 2016 planning for the Orphan Film Symposium, reviewing proposals with my co-programmer Dan Streible. Since we already knew that the theme would be Sound, I also started spelunking our collection for films about sound in all its many aspects that could either be screened at Orphans, blogged about, or both. I found quite a few, and one I never got to use was a film made by General Electric in 1922 called The Wizardry of Wireless. It uses animation to succinctly explain the principles of radio broadcasting, which was at that time a rather new technology barely understood by the public.

Educational Screen (June 1924)

General Electric had long been interested in radio, conducting a lot of experiments in what was alternately known as “wireless telegraphy” in the early teens. In 1919, GE joined with American Telephone & Telegraph (AT&T), Westinghouse, and United Fruit to form the Radio Corporation of America, and in August 1922—the same year The Wizardry of Wireless was released—they launched radio station WGY in the company’s corporate hometown of Schenectady, New York. WGY is still broadcasting today and you’ll notice the film ends with a title card saying “WGY Signing Off.”

Like The Immortal Voice (1923), which used animation to explain how phonograph records were recorded, The Wizardry of Wireless was scored by Ben Model. Our copy was preserved from a 35mm nitrate master positive by the Packard Campus Film Laboratory in 2015.




The Wizardry of Wireless (General Electric, 1922)

John Hersey’s ‘Hiroshima’ On the Air: The Story of the 1946 Radio Production

The following is a guest post by David Jackson, Archivist, Bob Hope Collection, and Matt Barton, Curator, Recorded Sound. “This chronicle of suffering and destruction is not presented in defense of an enemy. It is broadcast as a warning that what happened to the people of Hiroshima, a year ago, could next happen anywhere.” So […]

Mystery Photos #2: Who’s That Gent?

Thanks to all who reviewed and commented on our inaugural post last week of unknown film stills. Since last week we posted a series of unknown women, this week, we offer up a series of unknown men. Any suggestions, thoughts, or even speculation on who any of these gentlemen might be is gratefully appreciated and […]

Now Playing at the Library of Congress (August 11-13, 2016)

The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, a Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus. AT THE PACKARD CAMPUS THEATER, CULPEPER, VA: Thursday, August 11 (7:30 p.m.) Raise the Red Lantern (Orion Classics, 1991) This spectacularly photographed, sumptuously colored drama set in Northern China in the 1920s tells the story of 19-year-old Songlian (Gong […]

Bob Hope and D-Day: an unconventional season finale

The following is a guest post by David Jackson, Archivist, Bob Hope Collection, Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation. Recently I began the task of processing the papers for the Bob Hope Collection, held in the Recorded Sound Section, at the Packard Campus for Audio Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. The papers complement the moving […]

Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater (April 15-16, 2016)

The following is a guest post by Matt Barton, Curator of Recorded Sound at the Library of Congress. Friday, April 15 (7:30 p.m.) Play Misty for Me (Universal, 1971 – R-rated *) Late-night jazz disc jockey and inveterate playboy Clint Eastwood plays the field like he plays records on his show, but meets his match […]

10th Orphan Film Symposium (April 6-9, 2016): Radio Preservation Task Force

The Packard Campus is excited to host to the tenth edition of the Orphan Film Symposium, April 6-9, 2016; the theme is “Sound,” both with and without moving images. “Orphans X” is presented in conjunction with New York University Cinema Studies and its Moving Image Archiving and Preservation Program. You can register for Orphans X […]

Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater (Feb. 26-27, 2016)

The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus. Friday, February 26 (7:30pm) The Night That Panicked America (ABC, 1975) Radio meets television in this docu-drama that looks back at Orson Welles’s and the Mercury Theater’s infamous “War of the Worlds” broadcast from October 30, 1938. Paul Shenar […]

Now Playing at the Packard Campus Theater (August 6-8, 2015)

The following is a guest post by Jenny Paxson, an Administrative Assistant at the Packard Campus. Our guest programmer for August is Richard Hincha, a preservation specialist in the Packard Campus film lab. My first theatrical film experience was Disney’s Sleeping Beauty on my fifth birthday, and I was immediately hooked. When I entered college, […]

What We’re Reading Now: Recent Additions to the Reference Collection in RSRC

This blog post was co-written with Jan McKee, Reference Librarian, Recorded Sound Section, Library of Congress. The Recorded Sound Research Center not only provides access to the Library’s sound recordings but it also maintains a collection of reference books that support materials in the collection. These books include discographies, bio-discographies, directories, histories, and technical works […]