This film is an AURORATONE created by Cecil Stokes (1910-1956) in collaboration with Bing Crosby. Mr. Stokes intended his Auroratones to serve as a visual therapy for patients with mental disorders and chronic migraines. This print was owned by my Grandfather, who probably acquired it during the 1940′s while he was working as a film projectionist for various mental health institutions in the New York City area.
“When the Organ Played Oh Promise Me” is one of several titles, including “Ave Maria” and “Would You Like to Swing on a Star” that Mr. Stokes produced with Mr. Crosby and the organist Eddie Dunstedter in the early 1940s.
Although written descriptions of Auroratones can be found on the internet, I believe this clip, which I uploaded back in 2007, is so far the only visual example of an Auroratone that exists online! (Please correct me if I’m wrong).
My special thanks to Dad, who joggled his memory and provided the insight on how Grandpa got this print, and many thanks to all of you who provided the informative commentary that helped to clear the mystery of this odd film.
Whatever its original purpose, this film will always be enjoyable in its own right!
MY ORIGINAL DESCRIPTION – from 2007:
If you think this “video” is from a 1960′s light show, or a New Age meditation tape, think again. These animated patterns were filmed in the late 1930′s to accompany a song by BING CROSBY. No credits exist except for the song title “When the Organ Played Oh Promise Me” which was recorded by Bing in 1937. Could this have been influenced by the work of Oskar Fischinger? How was it made? And how was it meant to be shown -in a movie theater, or projected onto a dance floor? Your feedback is welcome! From my late grandfather’s movie collection – to see more curious films, visit “GRANDPA’S PICTURE PARTY” at http://www.webnik.com/homemovies .