[Kaleidoscope] by Loyd A. Jones.
Credit: George Eastman House Moving Image Collection. Photographs by Daniela Currò, Preservation Officer, and Barbara Flueckiger.
“This preservation was derived from two nitrate film elements donated to George Eastman House from the Kodak Research Laboratories in 1961. Both elements, a b&w negative and a color positive, displayed no credits and did not appear to be complete. The negative consisted of two brief sections, and part of the positive had been removed as a consequence of decomposition. Kaleidoscope was the title on the two cans. The can in which the positive element was originally stored indicated “two-color Kodachrome” as the color process used and “Dr. Jones” as the author of the experiment. So, upon its arrival at George Eastman House, the positive was easily identified, while the negative, displaying sequential frames exposed through two different color filters, was originally believed to be a Kinemacolor negative.
During the mid-1920s Loyd A. Jones, head of the Physics Department of Kodak Research Laboratories, worked on the production of dynamic color effects using glass prisms and glass discs irregularly coated with dyed gelatin. These moving discs were to be reproduced with the two-color Kodachrome process, a negative-positive process not to be confused with the later Kodachrome reversal principle.
Kaleidoscope was the result of one of those experiments. As Jones explains in The Reproduction of Mobility of Form and Color by the Motion Picture Kaleidoscope, a paper published in 1928 by the Society of Motion Picture Engineers: ‘By using the kaleidoscopic principle, highly perfected from the optical standpoint, in conjuction with a colored patternplate moving at a relatively slow uniform velocity, dynamic designs of extraordinary beauty and symmetry can be obtained which show a succession of evolutionary changes that are indeed remarkable. The effects thus obtained can be recorded by means of color motion photography and then projected on a suitable screen in the ordinary manner.’
Kaleidoscope may have never been shown to a paying audience, but in those same years similar experimental films produced by Kodak reached the public. Jones himself mentions that “a film entitled Mobile Color showing these moving kaleidoscopic patterns” was projected at the Eastman Theater in Rochester during one of its regular programs. Also, the New York Times reports that on 19 March 1926 Color Dynamics, “an inspiring study in prismatic patterns” produced by Eastman Kodak Laboratories, was on the supporting program at the Cameo Theatre in New York preceding the projection of The Three Wax Works [Das Wachsfigurenkabinett] by Paul Leni, along with The Pilgrim by Charlie Chaplin and Ballet mécanique by Fernand Léger and Dudley Murphy.
The unusual colors and the psychedelic patterns of Kaleidoscope won’t fail to fascinate today’s audience as well. – DANIELA CURRÒ” Source: Cineteca del Friuli