As talking pictures emerged in the early 20th century, with their
prerecorded musical tracks, an increasing number of moviehouse
orchestra musicians found themselves out of work. During the 1920s
live musical performances by orchestras, pianists,
and theater organists were common at first-run theaters. With the coming of the
talking motion pictures, those featured performances were largely eliminated.
The American Federation of Musicians (AFM) took out newspaper advertisements
protesting the replacement of live musicians with mechanical playing devices.
One 1929 ad that appeared in the Pittsburgh Press features an image of a can
labeled Canned Music / Big Noise Brand / Guaranteed to Produce No Intellectual
or Emotional Reaction Whatever.
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