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July 11, 2016

Thomas Edison: "The Kiss" (1896) – The First Kiss in Cinema

In what is considered to be the “first movie kiss,” actors May Irwin and John Rice reprised the smooch from their Broadway comedy The Widow Jones for a film shot by Thomas Edison’s Vitascope cinema projector.

A mere 23 seconds in length, it was filmed in his Black Maria studio in New Jersey in 1896., at a time when public kissing was greatly frowned upon by Victorian society. In that era, the act of kissing was referred to as “sparkin'” if it took place indoors, usually the parlor, or “spoonin'” when performed outdoors, in a secluded spot far from the public’s eye.

Even though most of the clip just shows the two of them talking and nuzzling, it is said to have been “banned in many places,” and garnered numerous negative reviews, like “The spectacle of their prolonged pasturing on each other’s lips was hard to bear.” Some reportedly called for police intervention.


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