Early audio description – New York 1929

A cropped image shows the first lines of an old newspaper article. The headline says "Blind and Deaf at Movie." The byline beneath reads "One Hundred aplaud talking film at special showing."

One of the earliest records of audio description in history was located by Katie Ellis during research for this website.

A short article in The New York Times newspaper published on August 28th, 1929, reports that one hundred people attended an audio described film at the Theatre Moderne.

The full text is transcribed below.


Blind and Deaf At Movie.

One Hundred Applaud Talking Film at Special Showing.

More than 100 members of the New York Association for the Blind and the New York League for the Hard of Hearing attended a special performance of the talking motion picture “Bulldog Drummond” last night at the Theatre Moderne, in the Chanin Building.

An interlocutor explained the visual sequences for the blind when the dialogue was momentarily halted. Those without eyesight seemed to enjoy the performance, especially the humorous parts, and there was prolonged applause at the end of the film.

This performance is probably the first talking picture ever shown especially for the blind. Several theatres in and about New York have sound magnifying apparatus attached to the seats for the use of the hard of hearing during a dialogue picture. But to date no provisions have been made for “readers” to help the blind “see” a film.

The New York Times

Published August 28, 1929

Copyright: The New York TImes.