The Photo-Drama of Creation

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The Photo-drama of Creation used the recorded voice and moving pictures of Charles Taze Russell in 1912

The Photo-Drama of Creation, or Creation-Drama, is 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 presents their beliefs about God's plan from the creation of the earth through to the end of the 1,000 year reign of Christ.[1]


Production began in 1912, and the presentation was introduced to audiences in 1914.[2] It was the first major screenplay to incorporate synchronized sound, moving film, and color slides.[3] Russell also published an accompanying book, Scenario of the Photo-Drama of Creation, in various languages.[4][5][6]

It is about 8 hours in length and was presented in four parts. This presentation took the audience from the time of creation to the end of the Millennium. The presentation premiered in January 1914 in New York, and in the summer of 1914 in Germany. 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.[7][3][8]

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 $7,657,000).[2][8][9]


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 have already passed, such that the final thousand years are "near at hand".[10]

The slides from the Photo-Drama of Creation.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Jehovah's Witnesses—Who Are They? What Do They Believe?, page 6
  2. ^ a b "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."
  3. ^ a b American Movie Classics, "Timeline of Greatest Film History Milestones'..."1914", Retrieved 2009-04-15
  4. ^ "Israel and Jordan", 1980 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 215
  5. ^ "Romania", 2006 Yearbook of Jehovah's Witnesses, page 78
  6. ^ "Responding to Godly Training from Infancy", The Watchtower, August 1, 1972, page 476
  7. ^ IMDB article "Photo-Drama of Creation (1914), IMDB article "Trivia", Retrieved 2009-04-15
  8. ^ a b "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."
  9. ^ "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."
  10. ^ "AGS Consulting". AGS Consulting. Retrieved 2014-06-28.

External links[edit]

Further reading[edit]

  • 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.