an EXCELlent way to entertain before TV

News of the World

Toronto. In the 1930s and 40s we had radio, but what could excite home entertainment like the movies? How about a movie projector and some inexpensive commercial films?

Many companies made and promoted home movies. One firm was Excel in Chicago. It was one thing to push customers to buy a projector, but how can you make them a regular user and how can you make money doing that?

One means was to offer short movies for your new projector. Excel offered timely “News of the World” reels to offer moving images of the latest events at a time when people could only choose newspapers or magazines with lots of text and a few stills.

It was wartime in the 1940s so there was lots of current material to use (in this case with a very strong American bias). And between the news shorts there were always comedy shorts – like the three stooges (from  vaudeville). In Canada, movie houses often started their main feature movie with a short “Movie Tone News”. This short gave viewers the lated news in audio and movies edited for Canadian audiences with their allegiance to Great Britain (for most people outside of the French areas) .

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