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 Theodore Willard Case

Theodore Willard Case

Birth
Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, USA
Death 13 May 1944 (aged 55)
Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, USA
Burial Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, USA
Plot Woodlawn Bower Lot 44
Memorial ID 3230 · View Source
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Inventor. An important figure in the development of sound motion pictures. Case was born in Auburn, New York, into a socially prominent family. He began to experiment with photographing sound waves while a student at Yale, and in 1916 he set up the Case Research Laboratory in a greenhouse at his Auburn estate. During World War I he worked on classified projects involving infrared signals for the US Navy. Case was instrumental in helping Lee de Forest create the first workable sound-on-film system, Phonofilm (1923), and in 1926 he joined forces with Hollywood studio mogul William Fox to form the Fox-Case Corporation for the production of talkies. His improved audio process, Movietone, debuted in 1927 with the Fox Movietone newsreels and the feature "Sunrise", which had a music and effects track. Although rival Warner Bros. achieved revolutionary success with its Vitaphone (sound-on-disc) system, the less-heralded Movietone proved more reliable and by 1929 it had been adapted by the entire motion picture industry. That year Case sold his business interests to Fox, though he remained associated with the studio until the Fox-Case subsidiary was dissolved in 1930. He spent the rest of his life in semi-retirement. In 1936 he donated his Auburn home to the county to serve as a museum; it is now the Cayuga Museum of History & Art. Case's laboratory there has been preserved as he left it. He is the subject of a biography, "Now We're Talking: The Story of Theodore W. Case and Sound-on-Film" by Antonia K. and Luke P. Colella (2003, 2nd Edition 2010).

Bio by: Bobb Edwards


Family Members

Gravesite Details Age 55 Date Buried 05/15/1944

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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 22 Jul 1998
  • Find A Grave Memorial 3230
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Theodore Willard Case (12 Dec 1888–13 May 1944), Find A Grave Memorial no. 3230, citing Fort Hill Cemetery, Auburn, Cayuga County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .