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Film / Audioscopiks

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Audioscopiks is a 1935 short film (8 1/2 minutes) directed by Jacob Leventhal and John Norling.

It was produced by Pete Smith as one of his Pete Smith Specialties for MGM. In this one Smith demonstrates then-new 3-D technology. The first part of the movie is basically a short science documentary, as the film demonstrates how depth perception is created by having two eyes that each have a slightly different field of vision. Losing an eye robs you of depth perception, pushing on an eyeball causes one to see double as coordination between the eyes is broken, and intoxication does the same.

The film then demonstrates the 3-D camera and how it uses two different lenses to take two different pictures. Having done that, Pete Smith, the narrator, tells the audience to put on the 3-D glasses they've been given. The second half of the movie is a continuous series of shots dramatically demonstrating 3-D technology—a woman on a swing, a trombone player pointing his trombone at the camera, a woman blowing up a long balloon at the camera—concluding with a dramatic high-speed car ride through New York City.


One of the first 3-D movies ever commercially exhibited, although it was proceeded by a 1922 feature called The Power of Love. Smith produced another 3-D short in 1938 and another in 1941, but 3-D didn't catch on until the 1950s when Hollywood was trying to compete with television.


  • The Alcoholic: An actor plays a drunk man who is experiencing Single Malt Vision, in a scene that demonstrates how intoxication interferes with your brain coordinating your two eyes. Later in a Paddleball Shot the same character shows up, again drunk, and holds a drink out at the viewer before spraying the camera with seltzer.
  • Born in the Theater: Smith addresses the viewer directly, telling the audience to put on the 3-D glasses. The last scene shows a cop coming onscreen, with Smith telling the audience that he's looking for someone who snuck into the theater without paying.
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  • Documentary: A short film that explains the principle of depth perception, shows how 3-D movies are made, then shows off the effect with several unconnected 3-D scenes.
  • Eyedscreen: The explanation about stereoscopic vision and depth perception begins with a vaguely creepy closeup of a woman's two eyes, as she stares straight at the camera.
  • How Many Fingers?: The Single Malt Vision scene has someone holding up three fingers to the drunk and asking how many. Naturally the drunk answers "six".
  • Narrator: As usual with the Pete Smith short, Smith narrates himself rather than having onscreen dialogue.
  • Paddleball Shot: The second half of the movie is nonstop Paddleball Shots. A baseball pitcher throws balls at the camera. A sexy babe in a swimsuit swings on a swing, continually coming close to the camera. A ladder is pushed out a window right at the camera. A chanteuse reaches out towards the camera and clicks castanets. There are several others.
  • Running Gag: Smith the narrator continually trying and failing to pronounce "stereoscopic." Once he says "oh, skip it."
  • She's Got Legs: In a scene that somehow got past Hays Code censors, a woman lying flat on her back alternates poking her high-heel-clad legs straight at the camera.
    Smith: OK Tillie, you can put those stilts away now.
  • Single Malt Vision: A POV shot from the perspective of a drunk shows his double vision, in a shot demonstrating how alcohol impairs the brain's ability to coordinate vision from one's eyes.
  • Stop Motion: Used for a gag in which a skeleton slithers towards the viewer.
  • Swing Low, Sweet Harriet: One of the many Paddleball Shots. A curvy woman in a tight swimsuit swings back and forth, approaching the camera on the foreswing.