|In 1997 Willem Bouwmeester and I travelled to Connecticut for the Historical 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 Todd-AO 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 II, Fred Zinnemann and many more. Brian also served as Todd-AO consultant for Michael Todd during production of "Around the World in 80 Days".
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:|
Historical Wide Screen Gathering
Brian O'Brien, Jr. Passed Away
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