1997 Willem Bouwmeester and I
travelled to Connecticut for the
Wide Screen Gathering and visit
Brian O'Brien, Jr. (13.03.1923 - 11.09.2013). Brian O'Brien, Jr. was
employed at American Optical Company during the development of the
process 1953 - 1957. He was generally in charge of planning and development
of picture production equipment.
Brian was a nice man who enjoyed sharing the stories from a
long time ago, when he and several hundred AO staff developed the new cinema
process which was to become the Todd-AO process. On rare occasions he met with Michael Todd, Oscar Hammerstein
Fred Zinnemann and many more. Brian also served as Todd-AO consultant for Michael Todd
during production of "Around the World in
Brian lived in a big white house with plenty of space. In
his basement he had his "International Head Quarter", with books, papers,
printers and a PC. We started out communicating via snail mail and telefax,
and later moved on to e-mail.
He was very proud of their achievements and praised all the engineers at AO
of their work. It was indeed a collaborative effort to develop the large
format process in a record 6 months during the first half of 1953. They
worked so fast to meet the deadlines they almost forgot to document all the
tools and cameras they developed. Brian O'Brien, Jr., however, organized a
Southbridge photographer to take pictures of cameras, lenses, tripods,
editing equipment and so on. I published all that in 2014. See the
Todd-AO Equipment Catalog.
Brian is also the author of
Todd-AO How It All Began /
Todd-AO - Wie alles begann, first published in
The 70mm Association
Newsletter as a 4-part story (1994 - 1997).
Brian's secretary also made a scrapbook with many interesting newspaper and
trade magazine clips about the development of Todd-AO between 1953 and 1956.
A green ring binder with 132 pages of newspaper clippings, adverts and stories
about one of the most significant films formats from the 20th century. It
has been one of my goals to make all this available on in70mm.com for many
years. I regret not having done it earlier, so Brian could see it for
himself while he was still with us. In any case, here it is as PDF files, organized page by page. Happy reading.
|More in 70mm reading:|
Wide Screen Gathering
O'Brien, Jr. Passed
Todd-AO Equipment Catalog
Todd-AO How It All Began
Todd-AO - Wie alles begann
in70mm.com Presents: You are in the
Show with Todd-AO