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the golden age of stereoscopic cinema    In the 50's young people in the States filled up small cinemas for double sessions. With the Second World War just over, the Cold War beginning and the threat of nuclear war everywhere, young people were enthusiastic about science fiction, adventure and terror films. Competition from television had become ferocious and the cinema industry came back with something that tv couldn't offer: 3D cinema.
Stereoscopic cinema, also known as 3D cinema, was invented in 1889. William Friese-Green was the inventor. But at that time focus was often lost and this gave spectators headaches. In 1922 Nat C.Deverich made the first film to be watch using anaglyph glasses (with blue and red cardboard): Power of Love. The 3D technique disappeared from the cinema during the depression of the 30's.

After the Second World War, with the cinema studios returning to form, stereoscopic cinema came back with a vengeance. One of the reasons was the appearance and popularity of television. Cinema had to offer new formulae to bring people to cinemas. And suddenly they saw that stereoscopic cinema could be the magic formula. Bwana Devil (1952) was the film that started this renaissance. The studios realised that this adventure cinema in 3D was a huge success. Compared with classic and traditional films, B movies easily filled the double sessions in all the cinemas in every city and town. House of Wax used Vincent Price in the first film with 3D images and stereo sound. Paradoxically, the director, André de Toth, was never able to see his creation in 3D because he only had one eye. During that decade, more than 60 B movies were made. They included It came from Outer Space (1953) and Alfred Hitchcock's Dial M for Murder (1954).
But towards the middle of the 50's the production of 3D films decreased. 3D films almost disappeared because it was an expensive process, cinemas had to be adapted for it and many people got headaches because of watching them. At the end of the decade, Cinemascope started to be used. This wide format brought new interest in 3D. In 1960 September Storm (1960) opened and within two years of that 54 more films were produced using stereoscopic techniques. But, like all fashions, it was short-lived and production soon fell once more.
3D cinema didn't come back again until the 70's. A new system called Stereo-Vision was developed and this managed to solve the previous problems with synchronisation. 3D quality was improved and this technique was used to film The Stewardesses (1970), the most viewed 3D film in history until Avatar. There were also a few of these films made in the 80's, including Spielberg's Jaws (1983). Another few films were made, but they didn't catch viewer's imagination. But it is worth mentioning the film that Michael Jackson starred in in 1986, Captain Eo. Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas filmed it, Disney produced it and it was shown at Disney for 15 years. It looks like we're in a second golden age since the year 2000. James Cameron filmed Ghosts of the Abyss in 2003 and then started work on Avatar. Thanks to ceaseless and rapid technological changes, 3D techniques are improving from day to day and there are more and more spectacular effects. Like in the 50's, there are new competitors to deal with (video games, the Internet ...) The cinema's taken to 3D once more.