Monday, November 12, 2012



Before there was sound in movies there was smell. In 1906, a Pennsylvania movie theater soaked a wad of cotton wool in rose oil and placed it in front of a fan. When a newsreel about the Rose Bowl played, they turned on the fan and the smell of roses wafted over the theater. Audience complaints, technical difficulties, and the tendency of odors to linger on fabrics limited the success of such multisensory movie experiences, relegating Smell-O-Vision to the land of gimmicky failed technologies, an old fashioned vision of the future.

Here is a very quick look at "odors as part of an immersive multimedia experience." If your television came equipped with the scent option, and then it got stuck in the "on" position and you couldn't turn it down and your cable provider simultaneously stopped carrying any and all cooking shows or related content including shows set in a kitchen or restaurant, what would you watch? More importantly, what wouldn't you watch if you were also forced to smell it?

39 Comments / Post A Comment

barefoot cuntessa

What wouldn't I watch? The Walking Dead. Hoarders. Sandra Lee.

Lil Sebastian

@barefoot cuntessa Hoarders! Definitely my first thought. The Real Housewives franchise, where they would all be capitalizing on the technology to hock pseudo-celebrity fragrances.

A. Louise

@barefoot cuntessa The Walking Dead would have been my vote until I saw this. Semi-Homemade would be its own version of terrifying.

Reginal T. Squirge


Just kidding, I'll never stop watching porn.

baked bean

@barefoot cuntessa Hoarders would be the worst.

Tuna Surprise

@barefoot cuntessa

Dirty Jobs. Although I would like to sniff the man-musk on Mike Rowe.

baked bean

@Tuna Surprise YES MIKE ROWE.
He supported Romney, which made me flinch a little bit in my undying attraction to his beautiful man-bod, but I'm back to lusting after it again.
Not to mention, of course, his beautiful manly voice and his kindness.


@barefoot cuntessa WalkingDeadWalkingDead WALKING DEAD especially that episode early on where they cover themselves in zombie-goo ahhhh.


OMG Hoarders. no more hoarders at all. Ack.

Das Rad

Well, I'd be turning off Cinemax sometime around 11 pm, that's for sure.


I might be able to endure California's Gold. Huell Howser probably doesn't smell that bad, right? And I already know what the more rural parts of CA smell like (llamas, farming equipment).

Avoid: Survivor, any competition show where they get sweaty.


There is nothing I would watch if I could also smell it -- actors and crew hanging out (often in the same clothes) for weeks of 8 to 12 hour days?!


I wanted the audience to feel the heat from the fire—the fear—because people don't like fire, poked, poked in their noses. You know, when you get a cinder from a barbeque right on the end of your nose, and you kind of make that face, you know? That's not a good thing. And I wanted them to have the sense memory of that. So during the show I had someone burn newspapers and send it through the vents in the theatre. And well, they freaked out, and 'course the fire marshal came over, and they shut us down for a couple of days.


@KatPruska My first show was Barefoot in the Park, which was an absolute smash, but my production on the stage of Backdraft was what really got them excited. This whole idea of 'In Your Face' theatre really affected them. The conceptualization, the whole abstraction, the obtuseness of this production to me was what was interesting.


@KatPruska What does the inside of a Remains of the Day lunchbox smell like?


@MoxyCrimeFighter a construction worker? or maybe one of those guys that works on those high wire things? with a hard hat, you know, that sweeping sort of hat, with the chaps.


@MoxyCrimeFighter They smell like bastard people! I'm just gonna go home and bite my pillow, that's what I'm gonna do!

eta - or maybe like "My Dinner With Andre" action figures.


@KatPruska Better than ass-face!

isabelle bleu

Awaaaaaaay back at the turn of the century some art school pals toured North America with a Smell-O-Vision revival show.



Smell-o-vision is great for outdoor movies! I went to an outdoor screening of the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory a few years ago in Somerville, MA, and the city government or whoever decides these things decided that it would be a Smell-o-vision screening. It was great! Lots of passing around of bags of odoriferous things and the spraying of delicious scene-specific scents into the air. I only wish they'd do it again!
About 10 years ago in Virginia, I saw a more industrialized Smell-o-vision of John Water's Polyester, with scratch 'n sniff cards, and that was quite an... experience as well.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

I probably wouldn't watch "Swamp People," because I'm guessing their rotten chicken bait doesn't smell awesome.

I also think "300" probably smelled pretty bad.


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose - Also, swamps themselves smell revolting.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@leon s Whereas the Swamp People themselves likely smell delightful, of American ingenuity and boot-strap-pulling. (And B.O. I feel like there's a lot of B.O.)


I wouldn't be able to watch anything probably because I have a very sensitive sense of smell, and overwhelming smells (they don't even have to be bad persay, just constant and strong) make me nauseous. So, please no Smell-o-vision k thx bai.


What if Breaking Bad was in Smell-O-Vision? Would we all die?


I think the obvious answer is Jersey Shore.

Princess Gigglyfart

i would probably watch MORE porn.


Bye-bye, Dirty Jobs marathons.

Hell-o all the cooking shows ever.


I would probably still watch Mad Men, because cigarette smoke doesn't bother me in the slightest. Mythbusters would smell like being back in the scene shop at college, which would be awesome.

And I would continue to watch Doctor Who just to see what kind of weird scents they come up with (banana features prominently, obviously)

Oliver St. John Mollusc

@thatgirl Dirt after rain!


@thatgirl Ooh, Mythbusters would smell wonderful. (I would also enjoy This Old House, Ask This Old House, New Yankee Workshop, etc.)

New Hoarder

Nothing with Matthew McConaughey.

Oliver St. John Mollusc

If I had to guess what the Rose Bowl smelled like, it would NOT be roses.

Also, when I watched Holy Mountain recently, I kept trying to describe why I was so icked out by it and all I could come up with was "it smells bad."


This website is my aspiration vigrx coupon code


A person necessarily assist to make severely posts I would state. This is the first time I frequented your web page and up to now? I surprised with the analysis you made to create this actual put up incredible. Wonderful task! vigrx side effects


I always was concerned in this topic and stock still am vigrx

Hassan Jamal

This is a great post, thank you for sharing best cell phone plans

Post a Comment

You must be logged-in to post a comment.

Login To Your Account