The Photo-Drama of Creation
|Part of a series onBible Students|
|Free Bible Students|
|Laymen's Home Missionary Movement|
|Dawn Bible Students Association|
|Pastoral Bible Institute|
|The Dawn·The New Creation
Frank and Ernest (broadcast)
Studies in the Scriptures
The Photo-Drama of Creation
|Charles Taze Russell
Jonas Wendell · William Henry Conley
Nelson H. Barbour · Paul S. L. Johnson
A. H. Macmillan · J. F. Rutherford
Conrad C. Binkele
|Jehovah · Nontrinitarianism · Ransom
Dispensationalism · Sheol and Hades
Resurrection · Annihilationism
The Photo-Drama of Creation, or Creation-Drama, was a four-part Christian film (eight hours in total) produced by the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania under the direction of Charles Taze Russell, the founder of the Bible Student movement. The film presented Russell's beliefs about God's plan from the creation of the earth through to the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ.
Production began in 1912, and the presentation was introduced to audiences in 1914. It was the first major screenplay to incorporate synchronized sound, moving film, and color slides. Russell also published an accompanying book, Scenario of the Photo-Drama of Creation, in various languages.
The presentation premiered in January 1914 in New York, and in the summer of 1914 in Germany. According to the Bible Students, over 9,000,000 people in North America, Europe, New Zealand and Australia saw either the full Photo-Drama or an abbreviated version called the Eureka-Drama.
Shows that combined magic lantern slides and films were common at the time, but the addition of recorded speech was unusual, and the magnitude of its distribution for a single religious production was particularly notable. At the time, the project's full cost was estimated at about $300,000 (current value $6,992,000).
The Photo-Drama purports that the seven creative 'days' in the Book of Genesis equal 49,000 years, based on Russell's belief that each creative day lasts 7,000 years. It further claims that 48,000 years had already passed, such that the final thousand years were "near at hand".
- Jehovah's Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe?, page 6
- "The Warning Work (1909-1914)", The Watchtower, March 1, 1955, page 143, "[F]rom 1912 to the beginning of 1914 the Watch Tower Society spent a fortune (over $300,000) in preparing the Photo-Drama of Creation, to spread Bible knowledge to the masses of people during and after 1914."
- IMDB article "Photo-Drama of Creation (1914), IMDB article "Trivia", Retrieved 2009-04-15
- American Movie Classics, "Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones'..."1914", Retrieved 2009-04-15
- "Israel and Jordan", 1980 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 215
- "Romania", 2006 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 78
- "Responding to Godly Training from Infancy", The Watchtower, August 1, 1972, page 476
- "Society Uses Many Means to Expand Preaching", Centennial of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society of Pennsylvania 1884-1984, page 24, "The Photo-Drama ... is believed to have been viewed by more than 9,000,000 people throughout North America and Europe, as well as many others in places around the world. It took two years and $300,000 to complete the project, many of the scenes being hand colored. Yet admission was free and no collections were taken."
- "United States of America", 1975 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 59, "A fortune for those days—some $300,000—was spent by the Society in producing the Photo-Drama."
- RealMedia: "The Photo-Drama of Creation"
- Pastor Russell´s ministry
- Scanned PDF of original book version of Photo Drama of Creation
- Richard Alan Nelson, “Propaganda for God: Pastor Charles Taze Russell and the Multi-Media Photo-Drama of Creation (1914),” in Roland Cosandey, André Gaudreault, and Tom Gunning, editors, Une Invention du diable? Cinéma des premiers temps et religion - An Invention of the Devil? Religion and Early Cinema, Sainte-Foy, Québec, Canada: Les Presses de l’Université Laval & Lausanne, Suisse: Éditions Payot Lausanne, 1992, 230-255; ISBN 2-7637-7300-1.