WNP456 – Eadweard Muybridge Part 2
Nicole: [00:00:00] It’s Outside Lands San Francisco, podcast of the Western Neighborhoods Project. I'm Nicole Meldahl.
Arnold: And I'm Arnold Woods.
Nicole: Hey Arnold.
Arnold: Hey Nicole. How are you doing?
Nicole: Oh boy, I am. I've experienced the vapors since our last podcast.
Arnold: Very good medical thing from the 1870s.
Nicole: Yeah. I don't know if people still get the vapors, but I don't know, with the state of the world, I would imagine the vapors are happening a lot more these days. That was a terrible southern accent, which we will walk away from very quickly. Everybody here needs to know that if you are listening to this podcast right now, and you haven't listened to episode 455, the one that aired last week, you need to press pause, and you need to go back in time, because [00:01:00] you really wanna start with act one of this two-part story. When we left you on a cliffhanger at the end of our last podcast. What happened? So pioneer photographer Eadweard Muybridge had just confronted his wife Flora's lover, the dashing liar, Harry Larkyns, and likely the legitimate father of their son, Florado Helios Muybridge. They were in Calistoga when this happened. And yes, that's far outside the range of the Outside Lands, but it's 100% worth it. And why is that, Arnold?
Arnold: So, where we left you, Muybridge had just come into the Yellow Jacket mine in Calistoga and was confronting Harry Larkyns and he says, my name is Muybridge. And then either said, I have received a message about my wife, or I have a message to you from my wife. And it's at this point that we left you last week, and now we [00:02:00] tell you what happened next.
Arnold: And that is Larkyns turns to run and Muybridge pulls out his gun and shoots Harry at point blank range.
Nicole: I, I can't even believe that Harry Styles, I mean, Harry Larkyns is dead. Is he really dead? Are you telling me he's really dead, Arnold?
Arnold: Well, as it turns out, he would die pretty quickly. Eadweard would actually later state that he did not intend to shoot so quickly upon finding him, but that Larkyns had begun to retreat and he just reacted. And Larkyns would die later that night. Muybridge said he regretted that he died so quickly because he wanted Larkyns to acknowledge the wrong done to his marriage. Now Muybridge did not attempt to flee. He awaited his arrest and was taken to the Napa jail without incident.
Nicole: Sounds like a man who truly regrets his deeds, right? And poor, poor Harry Larkyns. I mean, he'd done some stuff [00:03:00] that wasn't super great. I'm not defending some of his actions. But you know what? We all make mistakes. And Harry was remembered as a brilliant writer and a refined connoisseur of music, theater, and literature and for his abilities as a linguist, at a very quick funeral that was staged at the Church of the Advent on Howard Street on October 20th. Now, there were only two people who really disliked Harry Larkyns. One of them shot him and the other one got him fired from his job. But everybody else really liked him. So, they had, they had these lovely services for him. He was thereafter taken to Masonic Cemetery near Lone Mountain, which is technically part of the West side. So boom, we did it again. And his body was placed there in a vault awaiting instructions from his family in Europe, which really never came. And unfortunately, there are no surviving records of his burial. So, we're not quite sure what happened to him. If he was removed from Masonic Cemetery and taken down [00:04:00] to Colma, or if he's still…
Arnold: One of the many who were buried underneath the many developments up there on Lone Mountain these days.
Nicole: Yeah. If you are a listener living near Lone Mountain, maybe Harry Larkyns is buried underneath your house.
Arnold: Now, the day before this funeral, on October 19th, Muybridge was transported from Calistoga to Napa by train. The Chronicle, on October 19th, which was their first reporting of the story, cause it happened late on the 17th, too late to make it into the October 18th editions. So, on October 19th, this hits the headlines in the Chronicle and they did their best scandal rag impersonation, with headlines about this murder, with not one, not two, but seven headlines above the content of that story. Those headlines read as [00:05:00] follows.
Nicole: Oh, my turn. Okay, so they read and I quote, “A startling tragedy.” “Harry Larkyns shot dead by Muybridge the artist.” “Sequel to a shocking domestic scandal.” The next one reads, “The major killed on sight.” “A frenzied husband's hurried trip to Calistoga.” The next one reads, “The proof of a wife's disorder.” “An aged nurse tells what she knows about the affair, the eventful career of a deceased, and a pathetic letter from his pen.” I'm quitting as Executive Director of Western Neighborhoods Project, and I'm launching on my new career as someone who just reads headlines for our living.
Arnold: You know, and the thing is that at papers like this, there was always, you know, somebody wrote the stories, they did not write their own headlines. Somebody else is writing the headlines to these stories.
Nicole: Oh my God, I want that job so bad. [00:06:00] Is that still true?
Arnold: I think so.
Nicole: Oh my God.
Arnold: In any event, these headlines basically told the story even before you got to reading it. And while Muybridge was awaiting trial, he paid for his own food and wondered aloud why his confinement should be so rigorous, cause he had no thought of escaping. Stanford, his benefactor, arranged and paid for his friend and former state senator, attorney Wirt W. Pendegast, to represent Muybridge. Pendegast had a reputation for “blinding the courtroom with clouds of metaphor.” This is, you know, when you see these movies about old timey trials, they're always have these very eloquent speakers, and that strikes me as what Pendegast was.
Nicole: Yeah, for sure.
Arnold: Muybridge also retained Pendegast's partner, F.E. Johnson and a San Francisco attorney named Cameron King, whose uncle was, get this, Governor Henry [00:07:00] Haight’s, the, the man who actually succeeded Leland Stanford in office as governor. Upon advice of counsel, he did not ask to be released on bail, so that aspects of his defense would not have to be released before the trial.
Nicole: Which is interesting. I didn't know that. So, if you don't ask to be let on, on, on bail, you're not required to be like, well, this is what we're planning on doing to defend him?
Arnold: It might be a little bit different today.
Nicole: Yeah, I would hope so. Geez. So, you know, Muybridge is like stacking his defense team deck, you know, and meanwhile, Flora files for divorce from him on December 14th, 1874, just a few days after Muybridge was, Muybridge was officially indicted for murder. And she files for divorce on the grounds of extreme cruelty. So, she's up in Oregon when her husband shot and killed her lover. And she probably hears about all this in [00:08:00] local papers. Which is incredibly brutal, right? She returns to San Francisco with her son Florado several weeks after the murder, and I can't even imagine how terrible this is for her. Like this would've been scandalous in 2022, right? But like in the 1870s, this was not acceptable. She would've been the subject of gossip and just, it just must have been really hard. The story was everywhere, and she was the unfaithful wife that drove her husband mad, you know? And reportedly she wanted Muybridge prosecuted and convicted, and her petition for divorce didn't go very well. It was dismissed in late March 1875 on the grounds that the cruelty alleged was not sufficiently strong enough. I'm sorry, your husband murders, murders, your lover. I guess that's kind of a hard thing to argue. It's cruelty, but like, anyways, so this was really, really long before like the no [00:09:00] fault divorces were a thing, so it's, she didn't do well.
Arnold: And I believe the cruelty had to be against the person. So, his cruelty, I guess, against Larkyns doesn't count here.
Nicole: No. It's mean to Flora though.
Arnold: And we can't forget that Larkyns may have been the father of her son.
Arnold: Anyways, during his time in Napa jail, Muybridge became a leader among the inmates. He was interviewed by reporters who found Muybridge in good spirits. He relayed that he'd been treated kindly by the jailers and he'd become somewhat influential. A recurring theme about him. In particular, he had gotten a tough inmate to stop bullying a, quote, “Chinaman,” by politely threatening him and saying, “no man of any country whose misfortune shall bring him here, shall [00:10:00] be abused in my presence.”
Nicole: And like a reporter goes up there and interviews him personally and comes back with like all this big story about how like Muybridge is doing great. And like Muybridge's a great guy. Like, oh man, it's too bad. This whole thing happened with his wife. Anyways, onto the trial. Muybridge's trial starts on February 3rd, 1875. This is a capital case, meaning he could be sentenced to death if found guilty. The jury of 12 men were mostly farmers and two carpenters. So, you know, a jury of your peers. The prosecution's witnesses included the medical examiner, the stable keeper who rented a team of horses to take Muybridge to the Yellow Jacket mine, and the man who drove a team of horses. And three men who were present at the time of shooting, who either witnessed the shooting or talked with Muybridge shortly before or after the shooting.
Arnold: Now this trial, it's like the OJ Simpson trial of the [00:11:00] times.
Arnold: The Napa courtroom and hallway outside were crowded with spectators from near and far. Unlike modern trials, though, this is not a long, you know, lengthy process. They actually empaneled the jury and heard the prosecution's witnesses all in the first day and a half of the trial. And, it's at that point, that the defense had its turn.
Nicole: Yeah. There's no like, oh, the glove doesn't fit. But it's kind of the equivalent of that, to be honest. Get ready for this. So, Pendergast is considering two defense options for Marbridge. First that it was a justifiable homicide. based on Muybridge's marital rights as Flora’s husband. And this wasn't technically in the legal code and judges tended not to go for it based, cause it's kind of a hard sell. It's like, well, I mean, you know, like I had to shoot him, cause he was porking my wife. Second, to have Muybridge acquitted on the grounds of insanity relating back to [00:12:00] the head injury that he actually suffered in 1860. But Muybridge didn't really like the second option. And I kind of can't blame him, because like, say the worst happens and he's convicted, he would be committed to an insane asylum after the trial. So, or even if he was acquitted, you know, like he would have to go away. So, it was a hard sell and they kind of come up with like a combination of the two eventually.
Arnold: Now the defense's star and first witness on the stand was somebody who we will all remember from last week's podcast, and that's the midwife, Susan Smith.
Nicole: Oh, Susan, Susan, Susan.
Arnold: She testifies as to the letters that were exchanged between Larkyns and Flora, and further that Larkyns would send his shirts to Muybridge's house and that Flora would include them with Eadweard’s shirts for repair and washing, and then returned the shirts to Larkyns thereafter. Reportedly during the trial when he heard that, Muybridge explains out [00:13:00] loud, “Good God, is that so?”
Nicole: I laugh so hard when I read this because like, yeah, okay. Might be, and his son might be Harry Larkyns’, they could definitely been sleeping together, like going to the Cliff House on all these trips. But he's like, he put his laundry in with my laundry and she darned his sock. Like, how dare you? Oh so, so quaint and old timey. So, okay. She also, Susan also recounted their conversation the day before the murder about the baby's parentage and that the revelations seemed to put Muybridge into a trance. And then he like fell on the floor in a fit at one point. And she ended her testimony by saying that she thought Muybridge was insane when he left her home. And, I can't disagree with Susan. He was out of his mind.
Arnold: Absolutely. Now, the defense also had a number of witnesses to testify about how much Muybridge [00:14:00] had changed after the 1860 accident and how excitable he seemed to be on the day of the shooting. Other witnesses testified about how much Larkyns pursued and seduced Flora, and confirmed that it was Flora’s handwriting was on those letters to Larkyns. Defense also presented an expert witness Dr. G.A. Shirtliff, who was the superintendent of the Stockton insane asylum. Now, he did not directly testify as to Muybridge's sanity because he never actually examined him.
Arnold: But he stated that he could have been insane based on the reports of others who saw him before and after he shot Larkyns. Kind of wishy-washy, but the prosecution's about to take care of that.
Nicole: Yeah. Hi, I haven't actually talked to the person that we're talking about, but in my opinion, I have an opinion. So, after the defense rested, the prosecution called the witnesses to testify as to Muybridge's conduct around the time of [00:15:00] the shooting and thereafter in jail. Likely to combat any impression that he was acting insane. They also called the Chronicle Reporter who interviewed him in jail afterwards to testify about how Muybridge calmly recounted his motives for shooting Larkyns. And the reporter also received a letter from Muybridge, after publication of this interview in which Muybridge stated that he objected to his lawyer's planned insanity defense, and that he knew what he was doing. So, it's like, it’s like one of those like evil moments, right? Like, in like a James Bond movie or an Austin Powers movie where he's like, “mwahaha, I'm gonna tell you my whole plan.”
Arnold: This is where the prosecution gets the expert to change his mind.
Nicole: Oh, great.
Arnold: Prosecution recalls Dr. Shirtliff and has him read the letter that Marbridge had sent to the Chronicle reporter. Dr. Shirtliff admitted that there was nothing in the letter that would convince him that Muybridge was actually insane. And based on that [00:16:00] letter and the testimony of the other prosecution witnesses, Shirtliff testified that, in his opinion now, was a sane man when he shot Larkyns.
Nicole: Good grief. Sounds like redistricting in San Francisco in 2022.
Arnold: And this is where the judge's gavel comes down, and that's the end of the testimony in the case.
Nicole: Dramatic. So, the prosecution's closing argument emphasized that the defense had the burden of proving Muybridge's insanity, and noted how his own letter declared that he wasn't insane. The prosecutor further noted that though Muybridge thought he was justified for shooting his wife's lover, he was still not allowed to take the law to his own hands. Pretty straightforward, right? And Pendegast’s closing speech on behalf of Muybridge said, or was said to be so very eloquent. And he said that the insanity or [00:17:00] irresistible passion was an inevitable consequence of Muybridge finding out about his wife's infidelity. The courtroom audience burst into applause at the end of his argument. Let's, let’s just take a pause here. They're like, okay, so like, we get why you murdered your wife's lover, but that doesn't mean you should have, except that you totally should have. And then everybody was like, huzzah!
Arnold: I should point out something here that was in all the articles about this. Both the prosecutor and Pendegast were apparently also judges. I don't know currently or formerly. So, when you're reading the newspaper transcripts of the questioning, it's like Judge Pendegast ask this. Judge, you know, somebody else said this. And then there's the actual judge in the case saying this. And you're getting confused as to who's the real judge in this case,
Nicole: Who's on first.
Arnold: Anyway, with the end of all the closings, it's now [00:18:00] time for the jury to deliberate. And they started really late in the evening on February 5th, 1875, but they didn't reach a verdict before they retired to bed. Apparently that initial vote was five for conviction, seven for acquittal.
Nicole: Oh boy.
Arnold: So, they go to bed, they sleep on it. The following morning, they get back and they talk about it again and they decide, eh, we're not going to agree with Muybridge's insanity defense. We reject that. But we are gonna acquit him anyway on the grounds that it was a justifiable homicide because of Larkyn's affair with Flora.
Nicole: This is crazy. Poor Flora. Just ugh. So, the jury explained, please, I hope everyone's sitting down, cause this is the craziest thing I have ever experienced. The jury explained that the verdict was not in accordance with the law. So, they're like, we understand, like legally this is not, this shouldn't, this isn't right. [00:19:00] But it was in accordance with the law of human nature and that if they were placed in similar circumstances, they would've done the same thing. That's because there wasn't a single woman on this jury. All these men were like, oh yeah, would you shoot this guy if he was porking your wife? And everybody else was like, I would shoot this guy if he was porking my wife. And they were like, okay.
Arnold: Yeah, because back then, basically the wife was the property of the husband.
Nicole: Oh, don't even get me started. What's crazy about this is that Muybridge was the last man in the United States to be acquitted of a homicide upon a finding that the murder was justified. The last one. That's crazy. And the large crowd gathered awaiting the verdict again cheered the decision.
Arnold: Apparently is a very popular one.
Nicole: Oh, my goodness gracious.
Arnold: So, after the jury decided that it was okay for Muybridge to kill [00:20:00] a man under those circumstances…
Arnold: He just goes back to work.
Nicole: Oh, he's like the Robert Downey, Jr. of murders.
Arnold: You may remember that we had mentioned earlier that Muybridge was planning a trip to Central America. Well, now that he's free man again, he takes this planned nine month photography trek to Central America. And during this time, he continues to refine his camera and his developing processes for even faster exposures. On the other hand, Flora, remember her divorce petition got dismissed.
Arnold: The very next day she files again for divorce. This time alleging more grounds of cruelty, including violent fits, jealousy and threats against her. She also said that, as someone who worked on his photographs as a retoucher, she only agreed to marry him in the first place because she depended on Muybridge.
Arnold: A judge grants her application [00:21:00] for temporary alimony of $50 a month in May 1875, but another tragedy is about to happen.
Nicole: Man, it is a bummer to be a woman in the 1870s. Every time someone's like, wouldn't you love to live back in the olden times? I'm like, no, I would not. Flora didn't have a lot of options, you know? And all this was incredibly stressful thinking that without this alimony, she would be destitute with this, with this child. Flora's physical condition have been going worse and worse since Muybridge was acquitted of Larkyn's murder, and she was actually hospitalized at St. Mary's around the beginning of May 1875 with what was, what was reported as spinal and inflammatory rheumatism complaints. Now, the press, which decidedly was like Team Muybridge, they despised Florida, Flora. They just, they just annihilated her in print. They initially reported like, huzzah, she's had a stroke, but that wasn't true. But she [00:22:00] was very ill. And during Muybridge's professional sojourn to Central America, Flora actually dies on July 18th, 1875. And newspaper headlines read, and I quote, this is awful, “death relieves Mrs. Flora Muybridge of life of sin and shame.”
Arnold: Clearly, the newspapers were Team Eadweard here.
Nicole: Yeah, exactly.
Arnold: Prior to her death, Flora had placed Florado with a French couple living on Mission Street. And he was later sent to a Catholic orphanage.
Arnold: In 1876, after he is returned from his Central American trek, Muybridge moves Florado into a Protestant orphanage and pays for his care there, but otherwise has very little to do with his son, likely believing that, in fact, it's not his son. And that Larkyns had actually fathered him.
Nicole: Poor little Harry. And [00:23:00] then, Muybridge just continues about his business like nothing happened. Like he didn't abandon this child and then he wasn't just like, acquitted of murder or convicted of murder, but was let free. In 1877, Muybridge went to the Mark Hopkins mansion, the top of Nob Hill, for another photography experiment. And this is probably the one you know him for if you don't know him for the horse images. From the roof, he took 13 images while carefully moving his camera in a circle, and the result was this incredible 360-degree panorama of San Francisco that was considered groundbreaking at the time that Muybridge published it in July of 1877. It's still considered one of the seminal works of photography. The Chronicle described it as, and I quote, “the most perfect and elaborate work of that description ever executed on the Pacific Coast.” And yes, you can find this panorama on OpenSFHistory. You can also find it all over the internet. You can find prints of [00:24:00] this in most collections throughout the Bay Area and beyond.
Arnold: I'm thinking that the de Youngs kind of liked Eadweard. Given these headlines and these descriptions of his work.
Nicole: Selling papers like crazy.
Arnold: So, after years of studying and tinkering with faster shutters and the development of the electronically triggered shutter mechanism, Muybridge took another shot at taking pictures of Occidental, Stanford's horse. And in July 1877, he made a much clearer, though still somewhat fuzzy image of Occidental at full speed. Still, Stanford wanted something he could hang in a wall. So, Marbridge had the image copied by a painter named John Koch.
Nicole: So, the resulting watercolor and gouache painting called “Occidental Trotting,” kept everything the same from Muyridge's photograph, but it sort of cleared up the blurring. And Muybridge took that and added like the head of the driver James Tenant, which he cut [00:25:00] out of a print and then glued to the painting. He then photographed this painting. Stay with us here because this sounds sketch, but it's it, well, it is, but stay with us here.
Arnold: Remember he had been working on what would be called photoshopping today, earlier in his photographic career. So, he sells this photo of the Koch painting, like a real deal to all the newspapers around, like this is the real photo.
Nicole: I did it!
Arnold: And he added elaborate story about how he managed to stop motion. So, as we said, this sounds a little sketchy in retrospect, but this was a time when retouching was not thought of as fakery in this emerging art form. And, here we get to the Chronicle again, praising his work. They called it, quote, “a veritable triumph of photographic art and perfect in all its details.”
Nicole: And again, we're like glossing over a ton of stuff here. Otherwise, this would be a 20-hour podcast. If you wanna hear more, you [00:26:00] should read The Inventor and The Tycoon by Edward Ball, where we got a lot of our notes. And then Arnold backed it all up with newspaper accounts from the time. But anyways. So, the following year, he took the process a step further by setting up 12 cameras in sequence along the racetrack at the Palo Alto Stock Farm with a white canvas on the other side of the track from the cameras. So, each camera was triggered in sequence when the horse or the cart it was pulling, tripped a wire connected to the wire. And this created a sequence of images of the horse in motion with each image 21 inches beyond the prior image. Are you all still with me?
Arnold: Hopefully so, because this is gonna become the whole focus of Muybridge's career thereafter. And he received patents for these sequential image processes. This process was shown to a number of members of the press and racetrack denizens on June 15th, 1878. [00:27:00] During that demonstration, a strap on the horse snaps, but it was caught in Muybridge's images. So, this only enhanced the success of his process. And the results were literally reported around the world
Nicole: Yeah. Over the next week, Muybridge repeats these tests with four other horses owned by Stanford. And these image series were reproduced on six cabinet cards being known as the Horse in Motion series. This is probably his most famous work, right? These were the first examples of chronophotography. Basically, a series of images that showed the passage of time. And over a century later, one of these series of images of a horse called Sally Gardner was developed into a gif or jif, I don't know how you pronounce that. It makes me feel really old whenever I ask. But anyways, you can find this online today. Look it up. It's really, really cool.
Arnold: And in, in addition to these cabinet cards, Muybridge exhibited [00:28:00] the images at the San Francisco Art Association on July 8th, 1878, using what they call a magic lantern. Which was essentially an early version of a slide projector. Magic lanterns had been around since the 17th century, using light to display images, typically cutouts, onto a wall or a curtain. By rapidly going through the sequences of images of these horses, Muybridge was able to create the illusion of watching a horse in motion.
Nicole: This sounds, oh whatever, a slideshow now. But like, really, you have to put yourself back in this time period. This would've blown people's minds. And today still, like I've seen, I’ve seen the magic lantern shows in action. And they are, they're really cool. You know, it has that like, kind of cool like steam punk vibe to it. It's always been my dream for us to make copies and like do some of our own magic lantern shows. Like I said, [00:29:00] people were incredibly fascinated to see how a horse's legs moved at full gallop, as the series conclusively proved that all four hooves really were in the air at regular intervals. This and the cabinet cards were incredibly influential on the development of motion pictures. And Muybridge is generally considered to be the godfather of movies. Not the Godfather movies. That was a different man. The godfather of movies. Muybridge exhibited and lectured about these images extensively around San Francisco and the Bay Area over the summer of 1878. So, think about that. San Franciscans. Muybridge is our guy.
Arnold: And the following year in 1879, Muybridge takes us all a step further. He expands this process to 24 cameras in sequence taking images of these horses. These results were published in a limited-edition portfolio. He had [00:30:00] also hired others to hand copy the images as silhouettes or line drawings on a disc. And then these discs could be played on a machine, a new one that Marbridge invented called a zoopraxiscope. He demonstrated what reports described as a moving shadows process at the, again, at the San Francisco Art Association. This time on May 4th, 1880.
Nicole: You wanna see some wild stuff on the internet? Google zoopraxiscope, because so much cool stuff comes up. So, this is considered another important step in the development of movie cameras. And Muybridge's machine was reported on in the June 5th, 1880 issue of Scientific American. Which is huge, right? Though they call it a oh boy, zoo, zoogyroscope. And I've heard it, I've heard it referred to as a zoetrope, all kinds of other things. Like this contraption has [00:31:00] a lot of different names.
Arnold: Which may be where Zoetrope Studios gets its name.
Nicole: I do believe it is, but I am not a Coppola expert.
Arnold: Anyway. Muybridge had become a practiced hand at publicizing his inventions and marketing his images. He travels around the U.S. and to England and to Europe to give demonstrations and lectures. At the Royal Institute, Institution in London, he gives a lecture on March 13th, 1882. And his audience included the future King Edward VII, and other members of the royal family. Then he also went and gave lectures at the Royal Academy of Arts and the Royal Society.
Nicole: So, that same year, Dr. J.B.D. Stillman, at the urging of Leland Stanford, published a book analyzing the horse in motion images. The book included 100 illustrations based [00:32:00] on Muybridge's images. And Stillman also used Muybridge's research as the basis for his analysis, but gave Muybridge no prominent credit on the book. Stanford, you know, he's hugely proud of this book and had a portrait painted of himself in which the book was visible under his arm. Whole thing. But Muybridge is left out of this part of the story.
Arnold: And this causes problems for Muybridge because, at that time, he was seeking funding from the Royal Society of Arts for further studies of his stop motion photography studies. However, the lack of credit in Stillman's book caused the Society to withdraw its initial funding offer.
Arnold: They also refused to publish a paper that Muybridge had written and submitted, and they accused him of plagiarism. So, Muybridge would sue Stanford to get greater credit in the book. But that suit gets held up for several years and eventually dismissed. No doubt, because Stanford had the best attorneys representing him. This issue [00:33:00] caused a schism between Muybridge and Stanford that would never be healed.
Nicole: I think it's crazy that they were like, oh, you're a convicted murderer. It's fine. We'll work with you. Oh whoa, whoa, whoa. Plagiarism, we're not gonna touch that with a 10-foot pole. But so, okay. In June of 1883, Muybridge received a patent for his process of photographing moving objects, which is a big deal. And around this time, he took his lectures on the process to the Philadelphia Academy of Fine Arts, which is also a big deal. He so impressed faculty members and the directors that they offered to fund further motion studies. Over the next four years at a studio in Philadelphia, Muybridge made over 100,000 images that studied bodies in motion. And we're gonna get wild again, you guys.
Arnold: Yeah. Cause these studies, they start with various animals. Some they borrowed from the Philadelphia Zoo. But these images came to include [00:34:00] both men and women as well.
Nicole: Arnold, man is just the most dangerous animal.
Arnold: Absolutely. Unfortunately, because the clothing of the time tended to hide the human form, and that's what he was after, to get the form of these animals in motion, it was difficult to study the humans because of clothing that was hiding their motion. So, he eventually began using human models, wearing little or no clothing. As you might think, this nudity will cause some consternation in certain circles. However, Muybridge was dedicated to scientific accuracy and even posed nude himself for some images.
Nicole: And if you're wondering, do I wanna see Edward Muybridge nude? The answer is no. No.
Arnold: At that time, he's 53 years old. [00:35:00]
Nicole: I was like, whoa. So, the images were taken with a custom-made bank of 12 cameras in front of a measured grid background. They would spend the summers taking pictures of all of them nude, and then develop and organize the pictures during the rest of the year. I'm just imagining Muybridge with all these like, different people, holed up in a room at like an esteemed university. All this university business happening outside. No one has any idea that this like, totally not okay by the time during, you know, by in accordance with the times, impropriety is like happening behind these walls. Anyways, in 1887, Marbridge published a massive collection of these images, accounting, amounting to over 20,000 images on 781 plates. And the collection was called, “Animal Locomotion: an Electrophotographic investigation of Consecutive Phases of Animal Movement.” Nothing says, [00:36:00] “hey, sexy stuff in here,” less.
Arnold: That just trips off the tongue.
Nicole: This work was a significant influence on the science of biomechanics and athlete mechanics.
Arnold: There's that word influence again.
Arnold: After completing this work, Muybridge traveled and lectured around the world again. In 1888, Muybridge approaches the big man, Thomas Edison, and proposes a synchronized system of Muybridge's magic lantern images that would be displayed on a wall or a screen along with a soundtrack that voiced the characters in those magic lantern images that would use Edison's recently patented phonograph. Edison liked the idea and said he would perfect it at his leisure. And, as we know, Edison went on to patent a Kinetograph, an early movie camera in 1897. Which was [00:37:00] surely influenced by Muybridge's images and proposal. There's that word influence again.
Nicole: I’m just imagining Marbridge being like, oh my God, oh, this got this really cool thing that I'm doing. And he’s like, it's okay. Well, I'll think about it like, and he then like, Edison goes home and he is like, this kid's onto something and like starts doing it on his own. Like at his own pace. Anyways. So, at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, Muybridge lectured on the science of animal locomotion and used his zoopraxiscope to show moving pictures in the Zoopraxographical Hall. This hall is generally considered to be the first commercial movie theater. And can we all please just give me a round of applause for getting through that sentence?
Arnold: Absolutely. Although we didn't say it there, it appears that Muybridge was an influence on movie theaters now too.
Nicole: Such an influencer.
Arnold: Muybridge's sequential image process was adapted for yet another [00:38:00] purpose by Australian A. Laidlaw Baird, and Nicole, you will like this one.
Arnold: On June 14th, 1898 at the Olympic Club here in San Francisco, Baird gave a demonstration of his. automatic judging machine that he invented.
Nicole: Basically, he had adapted the Muybridge process, that sequential image process, for the finish line at races, producing what we now know as photo finishes at races of different types.
Nicole: Can I tell you a really quick story about me growing up with my father, who was a jockey's agent for a jockey who raced thoroughbreds down in Los Angeles. And my dad would watch the races at home in the evening, and every time the race was coming to an end, he would jump up and he would take his racing program and slap it against his thigh and yell, “wire, wire, wire.” And that is this wire that you would trip to take the photo finish so you would know who [00:39:00] won the race.
Nicole: Everything is cyclical friends.
Arnold: Muybridge ends up publishing two more collections of his work, Animals in Motion in 1899, and, The Human Figure in Motion in 1901. He then retires to England, but unfortunately dies in 1904 in Kingston-Upon-Thames of prostate cancer. Now, we should note here, that in the years after his death, there's many newspaper articles trying to figure out how much influence Muybridge had on movies and movie cameras. And there's people say one thing and other people say another thing. A lot of times you'd see Letters to the Editor from the assistants that Muybridge had in the Philadelphia experiments writing in to back up their claim that Muybridge was a big influence on movie cameras. And it seems to be that's where it ended up, that most people seem to think, as we said, [00:40:00] he's the godfather of movies.
Nicole: We should also mention, cause I'm not sure we made it really clear, when he published his unsexy sexy photo book, officials at the university were like, what in the holy hell is this pornography? Oh my God, we are gonna lose our accreditation. Like, you can't print this. This is bad. This is real bad. And Muybridge was like what? What are we talking about?
Arnold: And, in fact, it, that word again, influence, on, you know, biomechanics and human form and athletic form. So, yeah. Yeah, he did the right thing.
Nicole: He did. And you know, bless him. Bless him for maybe hitting his head on that rock and becoming a crazy person. And like maybe none of this would ever happen if he weren't a crazy murderer.
Arnold: And maybe none of this happens if he doesn't crack his skull.
Nicole: So many what ifs. All right, Arnold, let's bring it on home. Let's conclude this epic two-part podcast.
Arnold: So, as we [00:41:00] mentioned way back at the beginning, this is beginning of part one last week.
Nicole: Days ago.
Arnold: There's not a huge amount of Muybridge's story that takes place in the Outside Lands, but his photographic journey took real shape in San Francisco. It included some of the first images of the Cliff House and other West side locations, however, his remarkable life, invaluable contribution to fields of photography, motion pictures, biomechanics, and it all started right here.
Nicole: Yeah, and you know what? We are gonna end this in a West side location because you can pay your respects or perhaps scold him for being a murderous old cuckold, by visiting a statue of Muybridge by Benjy Young, which is located near the Letterman Digital Arts campus in the Presidio, which is definitely West side. So, you can go rub his rub well, you can rub whatever you want. And, [00:42:00] and remember this podcast fondly.
Arnold: So, Nicole?
Arnold: Say what now?
Nicole: Say what now is I just told our podcast listeners to rub whatever you want.
Arnold: I was trying to glide over that.
Nicole: Oh, a new low for us Outside Lands San Francisco. Okay. So, over a year, we're gonna talk about some technical legal stuff now, just to distance ourself from that. Over a year after her death, Flora's divorce attorney made a motion to the court seeking monies from Eadweard for the services and funds advanced that he provided to Flora. Apparently, he had undertaken representation on a contingency fee basis, meaning that like he wouldn't receive, like he would receive a portion of whatever she got in the divorce, but she didn't have to pay him upfront or anything. The court denied the motion stating that a lawyer who depended upon [00:43:00] a prospective judgment recovery for payment assumed the, and I quote, “customary risks of life insurance agents.” And today, California, and most states, do not allow contingent fee agreements in divorce cases.
Arnold: So apparently Marbridge has a influence in the law too.
Nicole: Such an influencer.
Arnold: So, we also mentioned in our last podcast that a movie was made about Muybridge's life. That movie is simply called Eadweard, but with that unique old English spelling of his first name that he adopted, which was E-A-D-W-E-A-R-D.
Arnold: Edweird, Eedweird. I don't know. And you can probably find that on a streaming service right now. In fact, I recently watched it.
Arnold: However, Muybridge's influence on the arts extends far beyond just this movie.
Arnold: Like you mentioned last week, something about an opera. Well, Philip Glass wrote an opera about Muybridge's murder trial, which [00:44:00] he appropriately called, The Photographer. Also, the video for the U2 song, Lemon, was filmed in a way with the grid background in black and white, Muybridge used, and it was done as a tribute to Muybridge. Muybridge and or his work has also been featured in books, plays, and of course, documentaries.
Nicole: Yeah. Did you also mention that Jim Morrison put him in his poems?
Arnold: Yeah, he was in a poem that Jim Morrison wrote.
Nicole: Oh man. That's a whole, that's some b-roll for the podcast where I talk about how obsessed I was with Jim Morrison. Anyways.
Arnold: You were too young for Jim Morrison.
Nicole: Oh no. I.
Arnold: It’s my era.
Nicole: I still have a charcoal painting of him in my house. I was so obsessed with him. Anywhosit. Now, after that Say What Now, it's time for Listener Mail.
Arnold: Nicole, if somebody was really wanting to get in touch with us about one of our podcasts and they had something [00:45:00] to say, how would they do it?
Nicole: So, it's super easy. You just email us email@example.com and that's all it takes. Or you can hit us up on any of the social medias. We're on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.
Arnold: And who did we hear from this week?
Nicole: So incredibly, our virtual paddle out for Bill Hickey, after our virtual paddle out for Bill Hickey, an attendee named Burke dropped off some super awesome ephemera from the neighborhood. It included a Kelly's Cove reunion flyer from 2006. That was the, on only the third reunion ever held. And menus from a place called the Sea Biscuit Cafe that was on Noriega and 45th next to San Francisco Surf Shop. In fact, you can still find mosaics that Burke created for the Sea Biscuits Cafe inside what the space now is, the place called Yonkers. And he said, and I quote, “in [00:46:00] 1997, the Biscuit and SF Surf Shop were the only cool places at the beach. All the shops and restaurants out here now don't show up until after 2010. That neighborhood has changed.” And that's crazy, cause 1997 doesn't feel that long ago. And the place is teaming with like cool restaurants and, you know, shops and all that kind of stuff. He also dropped off CDs from the Mermen who were one of three main neighborhood bands out at Ocean Beach at the time until they moved to Santa Cruz. Santa Cruz. I have to say this is why we exist as an organization. I love when people drop off treasures like these and share their stories about them. And I, we wanna collect your stories from Bill Hickey's Paddle Out, which is happening on April 24th, the real Paddle Out, hosted by his daughters, Amber and Jennifer, at Kelly's Cove, which starts at 11:00 AM. And then there's [00:47:00] going to be a party afterwards at the United Irish Cultural Center, at a place called Wawona Gates. So go there, remember Bill fondly, just like Burke has done, and then share your memories with us by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Arnold: And in addition to emailing us at podcasts@outsidelands org, while you're there clickety, clickety, clack on the Membership button or the Donation button. Take your pick. Either way, it helps us. But if you become a member, among those benefits are getting the quarterly membership magazine. You get discounts on various events.
Arnold: Some of them are exclusive to members. So, get those perks by becoming a member. That membership also supports all the good work we're doing. And this is the real reason why should become a member, is to support this work. Which includes this podcast.
Arnold: Which [00:48:00] we've been doing. We're up to 456 episodes now. So, that's a long time about all kinds of West side history. So, join up and help us keep this podcast going. Also help us keep OpenSFHistory going, which is a big treasure trove of historical photos of San Francisco. There's the Cliff House collection that we bought at the auction last year that we are gonna be exhibiting this summer again at the actual Cliff House. So, you can help all of those things by becoming a member or just simply making a donation if becoming a member is too big a commitment for you.
Nicole: And speaking of the Cliff House, maybe you've noticed that our popup, The Museum at The Cliff, has been a little dark lately. That's because we are temporarily closing until the end of May and early, or early June of this year, when we'll reopen for the summer with refreshed gallery in the former gift [00:49:00] shop space and an expansion into the main Cliff House restaurant space, overseen by our dear friend John Lindsey of the Great Highway Gallery. So, keep an eye on our website. You might also wanna think about signing up for our email list where you can really stay in touch with the latest updates. Because we are planning some crazy stuff for that space. Bigger artifacts coming out of storage. Immersive sound installations. All kinds of really cool things. It's gonna, it's gonna feel like you're transported back in time.
Arnold: Now, before that reopening, we have a big, big, big event happening. The Outside Lands Western Neighborhoods Project Gala is happening after being delayed for two years. So, save the date. May 15th, which is a Sunday. It's happening at the Presidio Golf Club again. It's gonna have a Playland at the Beach theme, a mystery and surprise co-host with [00:50:00] Nicole for it.
Arnold: Which she has promised to share with us at some point. Even I don't know who that is at this point. The sale of early bird tickets have already ended, but you can reserve your seat at a table for $225. The remaining tables are few, so get in quickly. There's going to be entertainment, food, drinks, musical performances, art installations, a silent auction, humorous history presentations. It's everything you love about WNP, but even more. So, go to outsidelands.org/gala and sign up today and join us.
Nicole: Absolutely. I'll see you there and I'll be wearing a fancy outfit. So Arnold, what is our preview for next week?
Arnold: Do we actually have one? I don't know if we have a person in mind yet, but you are gonna do one of your oral history interviews with [00:51:00] a famous or maybe not so famous, West sider, who has very interesting stories to tell about the West side. So, tune in and find out who that is next week.
Nicole: Maybe it'll be you.
Arnold: Unlikely, but we'll hope for people to get better than that.
Nicole: All right, well thanks Arnold. This has been a wild ride.
Arnold: It's been fun, Nicole, and I hope everybody has loved learning about Eadweard Muybridge these last two weeks.
Nicole: I'll see you in the Presidio to rub some statues.
Arnold: No, don’t go there.
Nicole: All right, time for us to sign off. Good night.
Arnold: Bye now.
Ian: Outside Lands San Francisco is recorded by Ian Hadley. Content creation and media production at ihadley.com.
Nicole: To learn more about the Western Neighborhoods Project and more on San Francisco history, go to Outsidelands.org. You can also find us on social media at Facebook, which is outsidelands with an S, at Twitter, which is outsidelandz with a Z, and on Instagram, which is outsidelandz, also with a Z. And check out our historic San Francisco images website at OpenSFHistory.org. You can also find us on social media. Book, which is outside Lands with an S at Twitter, which is outside lands with a Z, and on Instagram, which is outside lands, also with a Z. And check out our historic San Francisco images email@example.com. G.