I’m writing a biography my father, Stanley Watkins. A British electrical engineer, he worked for the Bell Labs in New York from 1911-1948. During that time he made the first sound on disc movies: Don Juan and The Jazz Singer. Vitaphone and Warner Bros. His memoirs are fascinating and shine a light on the process and problems of those early days of sound. He taught sound men in Hollywood how to use the Western Electric system. He spent 7 years in London working with British and European studios designing their sound systems. After returning to NYC, his job was to make the Voder talk. It was the hit of AT&T’s exhibit at the 1939 World Fair in NY and simultaneously in San Francisco at the Golden Gate Exposition.

Stan’s memoir is full of family, and personal experiences. I have myriad photos and files and would love to hear from anyone out in cyberspace who might be able to shine light on any of these events mentioned above. Or just to talk about them. I am 80, so need to get this done for my family. I’d love a documentary to be made, too.

6 thoughts on “My Father’s Wonderful Life

  1. My father would have loved to read this. He worked as a projectionist in cinemas after WW2, then as a sound engineer for Western Electric/ Westrex servicing sound equipment , in Scotland. He died aged 91 a couple of years ago but I can just hear him in my mind talking about these things. I’ve really enjoyed reading this post. If it wasn’t for Blogging 101 I’d never have found it. Good luck with your widgets and your pingbacks ! Kindest regards, Helen
    http://helenbushe.com

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    1. Thank you so much for that comment, Helen. What was your father’s name? Stan was head of WE based in London, from 1929-1936, with an office in Bush House. I wonder whether they ever had contact. Wouldn’t that be fun? SSAW died in 1975 aged 86.
      Best wishes, Barbara (I had my 80th b’day last Sept)

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      1. My fathers name was (Robert) Ken Bushe. Spent last 20 years of working life as area manager (Scotland) for Westrex. I think I might have seen an old book about Western Electric. I’ll be clearing out my parents house soon so will see if I find anything. If I do I will let you know. Keep up the good work.

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      2. Ps my father was born in 1922. He left school at 14 to work as cinema projectionist. I’ll bet he would have heard of your father.
        It’s amazing what your father did. You must be so proud of him.

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  2. I’d love to see anything you have that relates to Westrex even if SSAW doesn’t figure in it. I would think your father would have been too young to meet mine; When Dad went back to the US he would only have been about 14, and just starting at the cinema as a projectionist. But even so, it would be fun to see if you find anything. I know nothing about the Scottish side of WE and early talkies.
    AlI the best,
    Barbara

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