So my topic is the very first years of film, from the 1890s up to about 1920. Very interesting, actually. Of course, the first thing (well, maybe not the FIRST, but pretty early) I thought of was "What about the porn?" I mean, whenever mankind has come up with a new technology, someone almost immediately thinks of a way to adapt it to sex. It happened with photography, it happened with the internet, it probably happened when the first person realized he cold make a picture by dragging a stick through the mud. But the textbook was utterly silent on the subject. (Well, they mentioned that early films were used in vaudeville shows, and that people found the "flickers" to be disreputable overall, but that's it.)
Curious (as a good scholar ought to be) I did some digging, and found out that I was right. From the first mechanical flip-card machines (mutoscopes), to the first loop-film players (kinetoscopes) adult content was not only there, but according to some, the only reason these things got enough money to stick around. And once longer films came out - whoo-boy! Ain't nothing out there on the internet today that they weren't filming from the get-go; gay, straight, group, you name it! There is some serious, hard-core stuff out there from as early as 1905!
What's really funny, is that these shaky, silent, black and white films, raunchy as they are, still have a bit of that sense of innocence that early film has. (Well, OK, the one where the guy is getting a blowjob and his mustache falls off, which he hastily hides behind his arm and reattaches, never missing a beat *might* have something to do with this...) But it's kind of funny overall. Not sure it would work as porn in this day and age, but still, pretty interesting.
The real dilemma, of course, if whether I mention this in my class discussion! Watch this space.....