Archive for December 12th, 2015

December 12, 2015


Scent of Mystery

Smell-O-Vision was a system that released odor during the projection of a film so that the viewer could ‘smell’ what was happening in the movie. The technique was created by inventor Hans Laube and made its only appearance in the 1960 film ‘Scent of Mystery,’ produced by Mike Todd, Jr., son of film producer Mike Todd. The process injected 30 odors, such as¬†freshly-baked bread, pipe tobacco, and salty ocean air, into a movie theater’s seats when triggered by the film’s soundtrack.

The use of scents in conjunction with film dates back to 1906, before the introduction of sound. In this first instance, a 1958 issue of ‘Film Daily’ claims that Samuel Roxy Rothafel of the Family Theatre in Forest City, Pennsylvania, placed a wad of cotton wool that had been soaked in rose oil in front of an electric fan during a newsreel about the Rose Bowl Game.¬†Arthur Mayer installed an in-theater smell system in Paramount’s Rialto Theater on Broadway in 1933, which he used to deliver odors during a film. However, it would take over an hour to clear the scents from the theater, and some smells would linger for days afterward.

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