Song Catcher

Song Catcher, Touchstone Pictures, ©2000


Many phonograph scenes are wonderfully featured in this movie with an Edison Standard Phonograph used to capture Irish-Scottish ballads in the 1907 backwoods of the Appalacians.

One minor problem for Friends of the Phonograph is the process used in the movie for making a recording on a wax cylinder record.

The Edison Phonograph in this scene would have used a Model C Reproducer for playing a record. A Recorder would have been needed to 'cut' the record and a camel-hair chip brush could have been used for cleaning off the newly 'cut' record. In 1907 Edison replaced the Edison Standard's original 14 inch horn with the Morning Glory Horn so that provides some dating information for this scene.

The Edison cylinder phonograph used wax records for recording, however, in this movie Edison Blue Amberol Records are seen which were celluloid and never used for recording. When a record is placed on the machine before Emmy Rossum's recording session the recorded grooves can be seen as already present. Although the movie goes from the recording scene directly to the playing back of the record there would have been an in-between step of changing the stylus from Recorder to Reproducer before playing the newly recorded record. The newly cut wax grooves would also have been probably been brushed clean. Additionally, these Blue Amberol Records don't match the Edison 2-minute record boxes which would have contained the blank wax records.

Select scenes to view excerpts from the movie (Touchstone Pictures ©2000).



First Song Caught
Watch this demo of making a wax recording (literally cutting a record) using a circa 1903 Edison Standard Phonograph. (Courtesy the Henry Ford)