The “Fox” in Fox News, a 24-hour House Un-American Activities Committee sponsored by Bush’s Baked Beans, is taken from the surname of pioneering film producer William Fox, whether he would be happy with the contemporary association or not.
One of Fox’s great innovations was the launching, in 1929, of the Embassy Newsreel Theatre in Manhattan, as a showcase of continuous non-fiction fare, presaging around-the-clock cable by many decades. Newsreels–or “film newspapers“–had been popular since the beginning of cinema, but until Fox they were secondary to the main attraction in the United States. He redefined them as the attraction.
By 1930, the proprietor had lost control of his film company and theaters, having been knocked out by a near-fatal automobile crash and the stock-market collapse. This reversal was followed by legal problems, a commission of perjury and a prison stint. Fox died in 1952, largely forgotten by the media he helped define. Text follows of a brief, understated article from the November 4, 1929 Brooklyn Daily Eagle, unwittingly announcing the moment when news in America–or something resembling it–became an infinite loop.