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1917 Chronokey Chronomedia index
Numbers after entries link to the list of references.


links and notes
January (late)  Akira Katsurahara, wireless officer on the Japanese passenger liner Mishima Maru off the Indian Ocean coast of Africa, has to find a word for his log to describe an unidentified continuous radio transmission warning of German raiders disguised as merchant ships in the area. He coins hoso. This becomes the Japanese word for ‘broadcasting’, officially adopted by the Ministry of Communications in 1919.  
January 30  Columbia Record Company in New York City records what is claimed to be the first ever jazz record: The Darktown Stutters Ball by the all-white Original Dixieland Jassband. It is released on March 5 and its success triggers the upsurge of popular dance music on record, which rapidly becomes the most popular genre. See 1915 December
April 17  US government cancels all amateur wireless transmission licences, the day after declaring war. The ban lasts 2˝ years until 1919 October 1
April  Animated film production begins at two Japanese studios, Nikkatsu (Nippon Katsudou Shashin Kabushiki-kaisha, Nippon Motion Pictures) and Tenkatsu (Tennenshoku Katsudo Shashin Kabushiki-kaisha, Colour Motion Pictures).  
August  Lucien Lévy takes out his first patent on superheterodyne transmission > 1918
August  In Japan, the Motion Picture Rules and Regulations are promulgated by the National Police Agency. Men and women must sit in separate parts of the theatre  
•  National Council of Public Morals reports on UK film and education.  
September 12  August Arnold and Robert Richter—later to invent the Arriflex camera—begin working together in Munich. Arriflex
October 17  Radio Corporation of America (RCA) is incorporated.  
October 22  Victor Records holds the first recording session for the Philadelphia Orchestra under its conductor Leopold Stokowski  
October  Balaban & Katz open the Central Park Theater in Chicago. An instant success, it leads to rapid expansion of the company’s cinema chain.  
December 14  Universum-Film AG (Ufa) is formed in Germany by buying up film production and distribution companies, including Messter, Nordisk, PAGV, Union and several smaller firms, including BB-Film, Gloria and Joe May Film. Ufa immediately becomes Germany’s leading film enterprise with full vertical integration. The government plays a part in brokering the arrangements and provides hidden investments. See also 1921
•  UK government sets up a Department of Information, headed by novelist John Buchan, with the intention of using film as one medium of communication. Some productions are made at the British Oak/New Agency film studio in Ebury Street, Westminster, London.  
•  Motion Picture Patents Company (MPPC), formed in 1908 to create a US movie industry monopoly, is finally dissolved by federal court order.
US anti-trust enforcement delays
•  Fox Film Company moves to Hollywood.  
•  Mary Pickford earns $10,000 a week as a film actress.  
•  British patent (no 107167) is granted to an American telegraph engineer, William Baldwin Vansize of 233 Broadway, New York, for a system providing each performer in a film with an individual battery-powered microphone that sends its signals by radio waves for recording on a steel tape or wire synchronised with the advance of the film in the camera. [0028]  
•  Neptune Film Studios at Elstree ceases production. Another studio, at Esher, south-west of London, reacts to wartime difficulties by offering training courses to cater for ‘the big boom in the British film industry’.  
•  First feature film made in Czechoslovakia is Prazšti Adamité (The Prague Adamites), directed by Antonin Fencl for Lucemafilm.  
•  Daily Express newspaper proprietor Max Aitken is awarded a peerage; he takes the title Lord Beaverbrook.  
•  During the First World War, the German government creates over 900 makeshift cinemas in the front lines for entertainment of the troops.  
•  After America's entry into the First World War (April), the US Army Signal Corps sets up a training course for historical and medical documentary film-making at Columbia University, New York. Among those involved, teaching and/or learning, are Alan Crosland, Lewis Milestone and Josef von Sternberg,  
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Page updated 9 April 2008
© David Fisher