The Impact Of Technology On 1920 — страница 2

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Ford paid a record $2,467,946 in income taxes for the prosperous year of 1924 (Gordon and Gordon 50). According to Elizabeth Stevenson: “… Nothing ever dramatized the system of factory organization so well as the break in Ford automobile production stretching across a good part of the year 1927. Ford was the epitome of everything in the world of everyday work that the citizens of the 1920s admired. His faults were overlooked or accepted as virtues, and his success in this great mechanical and business venture seemed a test of the health of the nation itself. The public found itself absorbed, entertained, and delighted by such toys as Model-Ts and Model-As. If Ford should fail, they all in some measure failed. But anticipation was joyous. Even the suspense was delicious, it

would be a misunderstanding to think that it was all a matter of sober self-interest, that this man would again bring about the car that suited at the price that was right. …” (190) Evidently Stevenson was not the only person to feel this way. Bruce even said that Ford was the high priest of mass production, which people of the world saw to be more important than any ideological doctrine as the industrial miracle-maker to the curse of world poverty. (80) The combination of an increase in American recreation and the advent of the automobile helped to bring about the success of the movie industry. Early movie attendance was fairly low due to the sparse distribution of movie theaters. But as automobiles became more popular, transportation became less of a hassle, and

consequently movie attendance soared with the increase of automobile sales. With comical performances by comedian, Charlie Chaplin, dramatic performances by sex symbol, Rudolph Valentino, and many other famous actors, the movie industry was able to attract a massive audience of loyal viewers, even during the years of silent black-and-white films. Later in 1922, improvements in sound recording technology enabled the filming and broadcasting of the first movie ever made with sound, “The Jazz Singer” starring Al Jolson. And finally in 1926, the advent of Technicolor enabled the creation and broadcasting of movies with not only sound but with color also. Consequently, the movie industry became a major part of American industry in general. In 1927 alone, over 14,500 movie theaters

throughout the nation showed over 400 films a year each, as movies became America’s favorite form of entertainment (Gordon and Gordon 68). As the movie industry grew, so did the salaries of actors. In 1924, John Barrymore’s contract with Warner Brother’s reached $76,250 per picture, plus $7,625 over seven weeks, and all expenses paid (Gordon and Gordon 50). The trend of increasing salaries continued throughout the decade. However, after the advent of sound in movies, many actors were fired because of their poor voices, inabilities to memorize lines, or even their inabilities to speak English. But those who still continued to act experienced remarkable salary increases. Greta Garbo’s salary rose from $350 a week to $5000 a week at MGM and football star, Red Grange, was

paid a stunning $300,000 per picture (Gordon and Gordon 68); while the average American worker earned around a mere $2,000 annually. The advent of certain technologies helped to bring about the immense success of the movie industry; a success that would persist even to this very day. The automobile was certainly one of the greatest crazes of the 1920s, but it was not the greatest. An invention of smaller dimensions, lower cost, and with the same abilities to bring people together spurred on the greatest craze of the 1920s. The radio became an instant success among the American public. Being substantially cheaper than a car, the radio became a part of virtually every home in America in only a few short years. Following the startup of the first public radio broadcasting station,

KDKA, in Pittsburgh, thousands more broadcasting stations pop up all over the country in the next few years. Radio instantly became a national obsession; many people would stay up half the night listening to concerts, sermons, “Red Menace” news, and sports. Those without home radios gathered around crystal sets in public places (Gordon and Gordon 32). The advent of public radio allowed listeners to not only keep up with national issues and events, it also allowed listeners to experience new ideas, new entertainment, and to form opinions on matters that had never been publicized to a national degree. The radios in thousands of homes linked people in simultaneous enjoyment and excitement (Stevenson 150). According to Stevenson: “… The mechanical inventions of the day were