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Talking Pictures


Although The Jazz Singer movie is usually credited as being the first talking picture, the truth is the first movie with an actual soundtrack was invented in 1905, twenty years before The Jazz Singer premiered.  This cinematic treasure, whose title has been lost to the ages, was directed by Steven Stereoski, who also invented the sound system that bears his name.

1905 audiences greeted Steven Stereoski’s film with great enthusiasm. The problem is the audience had no way to convey to others how wonderful sound movies were. Exit surveys found viewer after viewer saying “Talking pictures are the greatest thing since….” but the viewers were unable to finish the sentence. Because moviegoers couldn’t explain the magic of sound on the silver screen, Stereoski’s film was a box office disaster and silent movies reigned for another two decades. 

The reason you have never heard of Steven Stereoski, and another inventor is given the credit Stereoski rightfully deserves, is because another individual, O. F. Rohwedder, had not yet created the invention that was responsible for the technological explosion of the twentieth century.  You see, Otto Frederick Rohwedder invented an automatic bread slicer in the 1920‘s.

Coinciding with the announcement of Rohwedder’s invention The Jazz Singer premiered.  The voice of Al Jolson filling the theatre thrilled audiences, and thanks to Mr. Rohwedder’s invention these people had something to say. Now when asked “How was it?”  The moviegoer could remark “Talking pictures are the greatest thing since sliced bread” and an industry was reborn.  The sliced bread metaphor became the most popular advertising comparison used in the western world and resulted in a proliferation of inventions, consumer products, and played a major role in the final triumph of capitalism over communism. Otto Rohwedder lived to a ripe old age amid the adoration of marketing people everywhere. Steve Stereoski died in 1930, ironically, after falling into a kneading machine at a local bakery.

The lesson to be learned from all of this is it’s not enough to simply have the better financial solution. To make dough you also knead to be able to relate the product benefits to something the customer already understands.



Copyright 2022. Prepared for AMS Financial Services Group (AMS) by Advantage Compendium, Ltd for educational purposes only. Neither AMS nor Advantage Compendium, Ltd. provide investment, tax or legal advice. Information believed accurate, but is not warranted. Any views expressed are not those of AMS. Reproduction is not permitted without written permission. Fixed annuities typically have penalties for early withdrawal, known as surrender penalties, which may cause a loss of principal if the annuity is cashed in prematurely. Past performance is not an indication of future results. No index sponsors, promotes, or makes any representation regarding any index product.  Both investments and fixed annuities involve certain risks; a consumer should consult with their advisor. Fixed annuities are not bank instruments and are not insured by FDIC.