Cayuga Museum Celebrates 100 Years of Sound Film with Two December Events

Dialogues of early Sound Film
Dialogues of early Sound Film

Events celebrate Auburn’s historical impact on the film industry 


Auburn, NY – Cayuga Museum of History and Art and Case Research Laboratory, located in Auburn, NY, is hosting two December events to celebrate the 100th anniversary of sound film, which revolutionized mass media and the film industry. The first event is a film screening on Wed., Dec. 7 from local filmmaker, Terry Cuddy, of his conceptual documentary on the Case Research Laboratory’s contributions to the modern film world. The second is an anniversary celebration of 100 Years of Sound Film, taking place on Wed., Dec. 14.

Auburn resident, Theodore Case, used a special, light sensitive cell to record the word “hello” onto a film strip with perfect clarity. The system would be referred to under many names: the Thalofide Cell, the AEO light, the De Forest Phonofilm system, Movietone; all referencing an invention that changed entertainment and the world forever. That day, Dec. 14, 1922, Theodore Case and his fellow scientists in the Case Research Lab discovered the key to making sound film a widespread phenomenon. This seemingly simple discovery began the end of the “Silent Era” of film and ushered in the “Talkie” Revolution. 

On Wed., Dec. 7... Inspired by Case’s story, Terry Cuddy created a documentary about the event in 1997. “Dialogues of Early Sound Film” explores the history of the Case Research Laboratory, connecting the local ties to global impact. In honor of the film’s 25th anniversary and the 100th anniversary of Case’s invention, Cayuga Museum will be hosting a special film screening along with a presentation by Cuddy on his work. The film screening will begin at 6:30 p.m. on Wed., Dec. 7 in the Carriage House Theater. General admission is $10 and $5 for museum members. Tickets can be purchased at the door or online at

On Wed., Dec. 14... Exactly 100 years from the historic day, the Cayuga Museum will host a special birthday party for sound film. Hosted in the Carriage House Theater, where some of the earliest sound films ever made were produced, the event will feature live jazz music, take-home science projects for the family, commemorative merchandise, and birthday cake. Attendees will also get to view a screening of rarely seen early sound film footage and accounts from some very special guests. Free to the public, doors will open at 5:30 p.m. with the official commemoration and screening beginning at 6:00 p.m. Additional information about the 100th Anniversary of Sound Film Commemoration is available at:

The 100th Anniversary of Sound Film Commemoration is made possible in part by the title sponsor, Tompkins Community Bank. The celebration is also supported by KeyBank and the Skaneateles
Area Arts Council.  Additional information about Auburn’s historical contribution to the film industry is available at:

Cayuga Museum of Art & History
The Cayuga Museum of History and Art (commonly called the Cayuga Museum) was founded in 1936. The Cayuga Museum operates through three buildings—the Willard-Case mansion where guests can view rotating and permanent displays of local art and the history of Cayuga County; the Case Research Lab with a permanent exhibit of the workings of Theodore Case’s 20th century laboratory; and the Carriage House Theater, a renovated 1850’s carriage house which now operates as a multi-arts space. Learn more:

Media Contact:
Geoffrey Starks
Director of Development & Outreach
Cayuga Museum of History & Art
Case Research Laboratory