HISTORY of the Slate
and other interesting things
Leon M. Leon is credited as the true inventor of the Clapboard. Originally a prop and gag man in silent films, he was a pioneer sound man when "talkies" began.
As he often explained, the clapboard was merely an accident. It's evolution began as a separate slate, along with two wood blocks that he clapped together for the sound synchronization. Holding the slate and two blocks were cumbersome, so he asked a crew member to hinge the two blocks together. However, when the camera couldn't clearly see the two blocks as they hit, he ran some tape diagonally around the closed blocks, and then slit them apart with a knife.
The final touch evolved when he got tired of holding a slate, then putting it under his arm while he clapped the blocks. As he put it, "One day I just told someone 'Nail those together, will you?'" The rest was history.
In the early 1990s Leon Leon was officially recognized for his many industry contributions (clapboard, fish pole mic, etc).
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Kerry Ross