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American baseballers gathered at a Movietone event on board SS SIERRA

Date: 8 August 1929
Medium: Glass plate negative
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Photographs
Object Name: Photograph
Object No: 00034653
Place Manufactured:Circular Quay

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    Description
    This photograph depicts members of Oregon, USA's Multnomah Amateur Athletic Association, at a Movietone event on board SS SIERRA on 8 August 1929. The photograph was taken at Circular Quay during the welcoming and celebrations of the arrival of Australia's first Movietone News truck. The American baseballers arrived to play a series of games against Australian teams from South Australia, Sydney and Victoria. In the back row, left to right is: V Jacobberger, K Sax, F Helmcke, G Storry, G Sherrett and H Moore. In the front row, left to right is: H Dillon, R Grayson, B Mimmaugn, R Davis and M Grayson.
    SignificanceThe Samuel J Hood photographic collection records an extensive range of maritime activity on Sydney Harbour, including sail and steam ships, crew portraits, crews at work, ship interiors, stevedores loading and unloading cargo, port scenes, pleasure boats and harbourside social activities from the 1890s through to the 1950s. They are also highly competent artistic studies and views - Hood was regarded as an important figure in early Australian photojournalism. Hood’s maritime photographs are one of the most significant collections of such work in Australia.
    HistoryIn March 1929, reports were appearing in Australian newspapers of the first sound and talking films to be produced in Australia by the end of the year. Stanley S Crick, a film producer who was manager of Fox Movietone Ltd and the Fox Film Corporation at the time and later became known for entering politics, made the announcement also saying that the first Australian productions would be gazettes. He stated that the equipment for producing such films would arrive in Australia within three or four months, and that it would be 'handled by Australian staff and be taken around Australia on a special truck' ['The Daily News', 15 March 1929, p 8].

    On 8 August that year, the first Fox Movietone sound truck arrived in Sydney from San Francisco on board SS SIERRA to facilitate the making of the 'Fox Movietone Talkie Gazette'. According to 'The Sydney Morning Herald', the Aero Club arranged for aeroplanes to meet the steamer upon its arrival in Watsons Bay, to escort it to Circular Quay and welcome Stanley Crick.

    Sydney's 'Evening News' reported that the deck was:

    '... converted into a movie studio ... and in the presence of leading film men of the city the first Australian talking picture was made. This was possible through a movietone camera specially brought here by Mr Stanley S Crick ... who has returned after a visit to America, where he completed arrangements with Mr William Fox that will revolutionise the picture industry in Australia.'
    ['Aust "Talkie" Made on Sierra, Fox Chief Returns', 'Evening News', 8 August 1929, p 14]

    Crick went on to tell the media that the 'machine' would be used to make weekly newsreels 'which will be distributed throughout Australia and other parts of the world, thus gaining an advertisement for this country.' The article went on to note that the 'first release would be shown at the Regent', which possibly refers to the Regent Theatre which opened near the Sydney Town Hall in March 1928 at 487-503 George Street and was demolished in 1988.
    Additional Titles

    Web title: American baseballers gathered at a Movietone event on board SS SIERRA

    Primary title: MALE CIVILIANS ON DECK OF SS "SIERRA I"

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