Postage Due

George Jeske (U.S., 1924, 20 min.)

As of this writing the earliest example of an automatic photography machine in a film, the Hal Roach-produced POSTAGE DUE features a young Stan Laurel, Pre-Hardy, as Willy Worst. Worst, described as having "plenty of brain but they need recharging," wreaks havoc at a small post office, to the chagrin of Postal Inspector Hawke (James Finlayson).

In his first scene, he poses and primps for an excessive amount of time before inserting a dime into a precursor to the photobooth, an outdoor Auto Foto machine. When the photo finally comes out, he's disappointed by the multiply-exposed results. According to a 1912 article in "Popular Electricity and the World's Advance," "the sitter places a dime in the slot, pushes a lever and the in three seconds a bell rings announcing that the picture has been taken. In 57 seconds more the Auto-Foto delivers the picture completed, and framed in a round brass frame."

Contributed by Christian Brian