Groves is credited as being the first production sound mixer. He worked in New
York in 1925 for Western Electric and later Warner Brothers and recorded on the
"Vitaphone" (a disc recorder in the phonographic sense). Recording at Vitograph
Studios in Brooklyn was problematic due to subway noise and pigeons (the latter
dealt with using a large pole, the former - well, you know how it is), and so
production was moved to the
Manhattan Opera House, where they experienced a
different noise problem:
When Reinald Werrenrath was to be recorded in a woodland setting, a resourceful
member of the technical staff brought in a boxful of field crickets for sound
effects and some of them escaped. Entomological note: crickets are difficult to
locate and sing loudest when the director says 'Quiet'!
For a lot more on the redoubtable George Groves, check out
http://www.georgegroves.org.uk/, a fantastic online tribute with anecdotes,
pictures, media clips, and more.
Below: The set of La Fiesta (1926) at the Manhattan
Opera House. George Grove mixed it from six floors above with cables wired
through the ventilation system. Click the picture for more information on this impressive rig.
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