Musical accompaniment to films was an important feature of the early moviegoing experience. The quality of a musical score could easily make or break films in the silent era, and the songs themselves sometimes became more popular than the films. Conversely, the silent cinema became a major subject in popular music, inspiring a flood of songs about the films, the stars and the experience of going to the movies. Today, few of these songs are remembered.This study begins the documentation of the lost history of songs of the silent cinema. Part one, ""Movies and Moviegoing,"" chronologically lists and describes songs about movies and moviegoing created between 1896 and 1929. Part two, ""Stars and Their Films,"" provides an alphabetical list of movie stars, including a brief biography of each and a description of the songs created about them and for their films. Part three, ""Recordings,"" reviews the recordings of these songs and specifies their availability on 78, LP, CD, DVD and the Internet today.
Ken Wlaschin, director of creative affairs at the American Film Institute, headed the Institute's National Film Theater and founded its Los Angeles film festival. He previously directed the British Film Institute's National Film Theater and London film festival for 14 years. Wlaschin is also the author of Encyclopedia of American Opera (2006), Encyclopedia of Opera on Screen (2004) and Gian Carlo Menotti on Screen (1999). He lives in Palm Springs.