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Christian Biblical Studies
A.O. HUDSON ON THE PHOTODRAMA: 1914-1915
A.O. Hudson, Bible Students in Britain: The Story of a Hundred Years (Hounslow, Middlesex: Bible Fellowship Union; 1989; pp. 63-66).
‘The most ambitious – and the most effective – means of propaganda ever devised by [Pastor Charles Taze Russell] was the public presentation [in Britain] of what was termed the “Photo-Drama of Creation”. The Photo-Drama was an assemblage of moving pictures and optical lantern slides accompanied by a spoken commentary on gramophone records, illustrative of the history of the world from its beginning in the distant recesses of geological time, through human history and onward to the end of the Millennium and the consummation of the Divine Plan for man. Interspersed with the sequences of “talking slides” were short runs of silent films in colour depicting Bible incidents from the time of Abraham to scenes from the life of Christ and the Apostles. The entire presentation occupied eight hours continuous display; this was divided into four presentations of two hours each, usually at weekly intervals at one venue. . . .
‘An ambitious publicity campaign was mounted, carried out by hundreds of active brethren. Descriptive literature was distributed door to door. . . . Nearly thirty millions of these leaflets were distributed. . . . Advertisements in newspapers and popular journals, placards on advertising hoardings, showcards in shop windows, every conceivable means of making the project publicly known was brought into play, and this without doubt contributed in major degree to the enormous public interest. . . .
‘The net outcome of the enterprise, which continued in this country from June 1914 to late 1915, was that close to two million people attended the exhibitions and about one in thirty followed up their interest with enquiries which kept the local classes busy for a long time afterwards. . . .’