Technical notes


N/A means information not available to Mr. Toy.

People listed in italics live or have lived on the Monterey Peninsula at one time.

Year indicates the year the movie was released in theatres, not the year of filming.

Film is 35mm unless otherwise noted or listed as n/a.


Aspect ratio refers to the proportions of the width to the height of the picture. Prior to 1953, most movies were made with an aspect ratio of approximately 1.37 to 1, meaning that the picture was 1.37 times as wide as it was tall. This is the almost identical to a standard TV screen, which is 1.33:1. A few non-standard formats have been used from time-to-time.

In 1953 widescreen formats came into common use.When viewing widescreen films on television, they are usually presented in a "pan and scan" format which means they were severely cropped to fit the TV screen. Many videos are now presented in "widescreen" or "letterbox" format. These are usually uncropped or sometimes minimally cropped, but do not fill your screen vertically.

Here's an explanation of the most common formats and how much they are cropped for "pan and scan" TV viewing:

New digital TVs now coming on the market have an aspect ratio of about 1.78:1 (16:9). These come close to the Academy Format, so minimal cropping will be required. For "scope" formats the image will still be cropped about 25% unless presented in letterbox format.


Sound is also rather complicated. A variety of formats have evolved over the years, but the capabilities of individual theatres and home video systems varies greatly.

So-called "silent" films were never really silent. They were intended to be accompanied by live music. In larger theatres this might involve a full orchestra. Small town theatres usually had only a piano, occasionally with a violin player alongside. However, most theatres of the silent era were equipped with a theatre organ, which enabled a single musician to have a full range of instruments, including percussion and sound effects, at his fingertips. The better quality videos of silent films feature an organ or orchestral soundtrack composed specially for the film and recorded in stereo.

Experiments in sound actually began as early as 1896 when a presentation was made in Berlin using phonographic discs synchronized with the film. Over the next 30 years years a number of short films and newsreels were made with sound, but none had widespread exhibition. Sound finally become commercially successful in 1927 when Warner Bros. introduced a sound on disc system called Vitaphone for the first "talkies." The following year Fox studios offered the first "sound on film" process which they called Movietone. Soon after, Warners abandoned the disc format in favor of sound on film. By the middle of 1930 silent films had been phased out.

Stereo sound first came along in 1935 when the silent film Napoleon (1927) was reissued with a new soundtrack for a special engagement in Paris. Films with stereo sound were produced in the U.S. beginning in 1940. "Stereo" in a film listing refers to basic two-channel stereo.

Disney Studios developed the first "surround" stereo in 1941 for Fantasia, but Fantasound, as the system was called, was installed in only a handful of theatres. In the mid 1970s Dolby Laboratories developed an economical method of encoding four channels of stereo information onto a standard two-channel stereo soundtrack. Theatres equipped with special decoders could present  Dolby Stereo offering right, left, center and surround channels with relative ease. A later version, Dolby SR offers greater sound clarity, less noise, and a wider frequency range.

Many theatres now offer digital sound with as many as six channels. There are two competing and incompatible formats, Dolby Digital and DTS. Much like the 1927 Vitaphone process, digital stereo uses a CD which is synchronized with the film.

Many "home theatre" sound systems are now available at modest cost which duplicate these formats in your living room. The least expensive, Dolby Surround (or simply, Surround), offers a three channel system (right, left & surround). A Dolby Pro-Logic system is essentially the original four-channel Dolby Stereo, modified slightly to accommodate the limitations of a home system. Dolby Stereo is encoded on most Hi-Fi stereo video tapes. Dolby Stereo and Dolby Digital is encoded on many DVD discs for use with the appropriate home systems.


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