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That's when a man named George Thomas first put music together with projected photographic images to entertain an audience. Known as live model illustrated songs, these ancestors of MTV were a nationwide craze by 1900.
Here's how it all began. Thomas photographed people acting out a song called "The Little Lost Child." The photographic images were printed on glass slides, and painted in color by hand. In the theater, musicians played and sang the song while the slides were projected on a screen.

George Thomas's first illustrated song show was a disaster. He accidentally projected one of the images upside down. The audience went wild‹with laughter. But by the second performance, Thomas had his act together. And this time the audience went wild with delight.

Thanks to illustrated song performances, "The Little Lost Child" became a nationwide hit. A huge industry was born. At one time, as many as 10,000 small theaters across the country featured illustrated songs. And customers lined up to see the show. For music publishers, it was a gold mine.


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