SOUNDIES

  Short Subjects

Click 

Silent Films

Trailers

click

In production

Sound Features

Click

Home Page

click

Cartoons

Click 

Among my film collecting habits I fell onto buying 16mm musical film reels called Soundies. These little three-minute American musical  movies were produced in New York City, Chicago, and Hollywood, between 1940 and 1946, each containing a song, dance and/or band or orchestral number popular at the time.

Similar to Telescriptions, a 50's equivalent format, performances were shot live, usually with two or sometimes even three cameras with their footage intercut to match the accompanying live recording. The difference between these and the more widely known Scopitones is the fact that the latter, like all modern music videos, features lip-sync to a pre-recorded track.

The completed Soundies were generally made available for rental within a few weeks of their filming, in film collections of eight to a reel, primarily by the Soundies Distributing Corporation of America, from which the name "Soundies" was generalized to any similar film, including later, single pieces shot as "filler" for early television.  The last true Soundies group was released in March 1947. The films were displayed on the Panoram, a coin-operated film jukebox or machine music, in nightclubs, bars, restaurants, factory lounges, and amusement centers.