NTUT Reading Comprehension 050907

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					NTUT Reading Comprehension 050907 Early Cinema The cinema did not emerge as a form of mass consumption until its technology evolved from the initial “peepshow” format to the point where images were projected on a screen in a darkened theater. In the peepshow format, a film was viewed through a small opening in a machine that was created for that purpose. Thomas Edison’s peepshow device, the Kinetoscope, was introduced to the public in 1894. It was designed for use in Kinetoscope parlors, or arcades, which contained only a few individual machines and permitted only one customer to view a short, 50-foot film at any one time. The first Kinetoscope parlors contained five machines. For the price of 25 cents (or 5 cents per machine), customers moved from machine to machine to watch five different films (or, in the case of famous prizefights, successive rounds of a single fight). These Kinetoscope arcades were modeled on phonograph parlors, which had proven successful for Edison several years earlier. In the phonograph parlors, customers listened to recordings through individual ear tubes, moving from one machine to the next to hear different recorded speeches or pieces of music. The Kinetoscope parlors functioned in a similar way. Edison was more interested in the sale of Kinetoscopes (for roughly $ 1,000 apiece) to these parlors than in the films that would be run in them (which cost approximately $ 10 to $ 15 each). He refused to develop projection technology, reasoning that if he made and sold projectors, then exhibitors would purchase only one machine—a projector—from him instead of several. Exhibitors, however, wanted to maximize their profits, which they could do more readily by projecting a handful of films to hundreds of customers at a time (rather than one at a time) and by charging 25 to 50 cents admission. About a year after the opening of the first Kinetoscope parlor in 1894, showmen such as Louis and Auguste Lumière, Thomas Armat and Charles Francis Jenkins, and Orville and Woodville Latham (with the assistance of Edison’s former assistant, William Dickson) perfected projection devices. These early projection devices were used in vaudeville theaters, legitimate theaters, local town halls, makeshift storefront theaters, fairgrounds, and amusement parks to show film to a mass audience. With the advent of projection in 1895-1896, motion pictures became the ultimate form of mass consumption. Previously, large audiences had viewed spectacles at the theater, where vaudeville, popular dramas, musical and minstrel shows, classical plays, lectures, and slide-and-lantern shows had been presented to several hundred spectators at a time. But the movies differed significantly from these forms of entertainment, which depended on either live performance or (in the case of the slide-and-lantern shows) the active involvement of a master of ceremonies who assembled the final program. Although early exhibitors regularly accompanied movies with live acts, the substance of the movies themselves is mass-produced, prerecorded material that can easily be reproduced by theaters with little or no active participation by the exhibitor. Even though early exhibitors shaped their firm programs by mixing films and other entertainments together in whichever way they thought would be most attractive to audiences or by accompanying them with lectures, their creative control remained limited. What audiences came to see was the technological marvel of the movies; the lifelike reproduction of the commonplace motion of trains, of waves

striking the shore, and of people walking in the street; and the magic made possible by trick photography and the manipulation of the camera. With the advent of projection, the viewer’s relationship with the image was no longer private, as it had been with earlier peepshow devices such as the Kinetoscope and the Mutoscope, which was a similar machine that reproduced motion by means of successive images on individual photographic cards instead of on strips of celluloid. It suddenly became public—an experience that the viewer shared with dozens, scores, and even hundreds of others. At the same time, the image that the spectator looked at expanded from the minuscule peepshow dimensions of 1 or 2 inches (in height) to the life-size proportions of 6 or 9 feet. 1. According to paragraph 1, which of the following is not true of viewing films in Kinetoscope parlors? (A) One individual at a time viewed a film. (B) Customers could view one film after another. (C) Prizefights were the most popular subjects for films. (D) Each film was short. 2. The author discusses phonograph parlors in the 2nd paragraph in order to (A) Explain Edison’s financial success. (B) Describe the model used to design Kinetoscope. (C) Contrast their popularity to that of Kinetoscope parlors. (D) Illustrate how much more technologically advanced Kinetoscope parlors were. 3. The underlined sentence in the 2nd paragraph can be best expressed as (A) Edison was more interested in developing a variety of machines than in developing a technology based on only one. (B) Edison refused to work on projection technology because he did not think exhibitors would replace their projectors with newer machines. (C) Edison did not want to develop projection technology because it limited the number of machines he could sell. (D) Edison would not develop projection technology unless exhibitors agreed to purchase more than one projector from him. 4. The word “readily” in the 3rd paragraph means (A) frequently; (B) easily; (C) intelligently; (D) obviously. 5. The word “assistance” in the same paragraph means (A) criticism; (B) leadership; (C) help; (D) approval. 6. According to the 4th paragraph, how did the early movies differ from previous spectacles that were presented to large audiences? (A) They were a more expensive form of entertainment. (B) They were viewed by larger audiences. (C) They were more educational. (D) They did not require live entertainers. 7. According to paragraph 5, what role did early exhibitors play in the representation of movies in theaters?

(A) They decided how to combine various components of the film program. (B) They advised film-makers on appropriate movie content. (C) They often took part in the live-action performances. (D) They produced and prerecorded the material that was shown in the theaters. 8. In the 6th paragraph, how was Mutoscope different from the Kinetoscope? (A) Sound and motion were simultaneously produced in the Mutoscope. (B) More than one person could view the images at the same time with the Mutoscope. (C) The Mutoscope was a less sophisticated earlier prototype of the Kinetoscope. (D) A different type of material was used to produce the images used in the Mutoscope. 9. The word “It” in the same passage refers to (A) the advent of projection. (B) the viewer’s relationship with the image. (C) a similar machine. (D) celluloid. 10. According to the same paragraph, the images seen by viewers in the earlier peepshows, compared to the images projected on the screen, were relatively (A) small in size; (B) inexpensive to create; (C) unfocused; (D) limited in subject matter. 11. Where would the following sentence best fit? When this widespread use of projection technology began to hurt his Kinetoscope business, Edison acquired a projector developed by Armat and introduced it as “Edison’s latest marvel, the Vitascope.” (A) (B) (C) (D) 12. This article can be summarized in four sentences. The first one is “The technology for modern cinema evolved at the end of the nineteenth century.” Select the other three out of the six sentences. (A) Kinetoscope parlors for viewing films were modeled on phonograph parlors. (B) Thomas Edison’s design of the Kinetoscope inspired the development of large screen projection. (C) Early cinema allowed individuals to use special machines to view films privately. (D) Slide-and-lantern shows had been presented to audiences of hundreds of spectators. (E) The development ofprojection technology made it possible to project images on a large screen. (F) Once film images could be projected, the cinema became a form of mass consumption.

John Henry

ANNOUNCER: Today we tell a traditional American story called a “tall tale.” A tall tale is a story about a person who is larger than life. The descriptions in the story are exaggerated – much greater than in real life. Long ago, the people who settled in undeveloped areas of America first told tall tales. After a hard day’s work, people gathered to tell each other stories. Each group of workers had its own tall tale hero. An African American man named John Henry was the hero of former slaves and the people who built the railroads. He was known for his strength. Railroads began to link the United States together in the nineteenth century. The railroads made it possible to travel from one side of the country to the other in less than a week. Before then, the same trip might have taken up to six months. Railroad companies employed thousands of workers to create the smooth, flat pathways required by trains. John Henry was perhaps the most famous worker. He was born a slave in the southern United States. He became a free man as a result of America’s Civil War. Then, he worked for the railroads. Confirming details of John Henry’s life is not possible. That is because no one knows or sure if he really lived. This is one of the things that makes his story interesting. However, John Henry is based, in part, on real events. Many people say he represents the spirit of growth in America during this period. Now, here is Shep O’Neal with our story. STORYTELLER: People still talk about the night John Henry was born. It was dark and cloudy. Then, lightening lit up the night sky. John Henry’s birth was a big event. His parents showed him to everyone they met. John Henry was the most powerful looking baby people had ever seen. He had thick arms, wide shoulders and strong muscles. John Henry started growing when he was one day old. He continued growing until he was the strongest man who ever lived. John Henry grew up in a world that did not let children stay children for long. One day, he was sitting on his father’s knee. The boy picked up a small piece of steel and a workman’s tool, a hammer. He looked at the two objects, then said, “A hammer will be the death of me.” Before John Henry was six years old, he was carrying stones for workers building a nearby railroad. By the age of ten, he worked from early in the morning until night. Often, he would stop and listen to the sould of a train far away. He told his family, “I am going to be a steel-driver some day.” Steel-drivers helped create pathways for the railroad lines. These laborers had the job of cutting holes in rock. They did this by hitting thick steel drills, or spikes. By the time John Henry was a young man, he was one of the best steel-drivers in the country. He could work for hours without missing a beat. People said he worked so fast that his hammer moved like lightening. STORYTELLER: John Henry was almost two meters tall. He weighed more than ninety kilograms. He had a beautiful deep voice, and played an instrument called a banjo. John Henry married another steel-driver, a woman named Polly Ann. They had a son. John Henry went to work as a steel-driver for the Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad, or C-and-O. The company asked him to lead workers on a project to extend the railroad into the Allegheny Mountains. The workers made good progress on the project until they started working near Big Bend Mountain in West Virginia. The company’s owners said the mountain was too big to build a railroad around it. So the workers were told they had to force their drills through it. This meant creating a tunnel more than one-and-one half kilometers long. The project required about one thousand laborers and lasted three years. Pay was low and the work was difficult. The workers had to breathe thick black smoke and dust. Hundreds of men became sick. Many died. John Henry was the strongest and fastest man involved in the project. He used a hammer that weighed more than six kilograms. Some people say he was able to cut a path of three to six meters a day. STORYTELLER: That July was the hottest month ever in West Virginia. Many workers became tired and weak in the heat. John Henry was concerned his friends might lose their jobs. So, he picked up their hammers and began doing their work. One week, he did his own work and that of several other steel-drivers. He worked day and night, rarely stopping to eat. The men thanked John Henry for his help. He just smiled and said, “A man ain’t nothing but a man. He has just got to do his best.” The extreme heat continued for weeks. One day, a salesman came to the work area with a new drilling machine powered by steam. He said it could drill holes faster than twelve men working together. The railroad company planned to buy the machine if it worked as well as the salesman said.

The supervisor of the workers dismissed the salesman’s claims. He said, “I have the best steel-driver in the country. His name is John Henry, and he can beat more than twenty men working together.” The salesman disputed the statements. He said the company could have the machine without cost if John Henry was faster. The supervisor called to John Henry. He said, “This man does not believe that you can drill faster. How about a race?’ John Henry looked at the machine and saw images of the future. He saw machines taking the place of America’s best laborers. He saw himself and his friends unemployed and standing by a road, asking for food. He saw men losing their families and their rights as human beings. John Henry told the supervisor he would never let the machine take his job. His friends all cheered. However, John Henry’s wife Polly Ann was not happy. “Competing against the machine will be the death of you,” she said. “You have a wife and a child. If anything happens to you, we will not ever smile again.” John Henry lifted his son into the air. He told his wife, “A man ain’t nothing but a man. But, a man always has to do his best. Tomorrow, I will take my hammer and drive that steel faster than any machine.” STORYTELLER: On the day of the big event, many people came to Big Bend Mountain to watch. John Henry and the salesman stood side by side. Even early in the day, the sun was burning hot. The competition began. John Henry kissed his hammer and started working. At first, the steam-powered drill worked two times faster than he did. Then, he started working with a hammer in each hand. He worked faster and faster. In the mountain, the heat and dust were so thick that most men would have had trouble breathing. The crowd shouted as clouds of dust came from inside the mountain. The salesman was afraid when he heard what sounded like the mountain breaking. However, it was only the sound of John Henry at work. Polly Ann and her son cheered when the machine was pulled from the tunnel. It had broken down. Polly Ann urged John Henry to come out. But he kept working, faster and faster. He dug deep into the darkness, hitting the steel so hard that his body began to fail him. He became weak, and his heart burst. John Henry fell to the ground. There was a terrible silence. Polly Ann did not move because she knew what happened. John Henry’s blood spilled over the ground. But he still held one of the hammers. “I beat them,” he said. His wife cried out, “Don’t go, John Henry.” “Bring me a cool drink of water,” he said. Then he took his last breath. Friends carried his body from the mountain. They buried him near the house where he was born. Crowds went there after they heard about John Henry’s death. Soon, the steam drill and other machines replaced the steel-drivers. Many laborers left their families, looking for work. They took the only jobs they could find. As they worked, some sang about John Henry.

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