By the end of the 1920s, film technology had made significant advances. Sound film production was virtually universal in Hollywood and within a few years it would be adopted in Britain, France, Germany, and Russia. Warner Bros. and Paramount also included two-color Technicolor in many of their new sound features. But color production would wane by the end of 1932, perhaps because the films themselves were so poor and had relied on the novelty of color to save them. There was no turning back to silent films but color would see very limited use, primarily in cartoons and the occasional feature film or insert, until 1939 when Gone With The Wind displayed the newer 3 strip Technicolor to full advantage.
Like color, sound had been in development for decades before it burst upon audiences in the late 1920s.
Signs of the Times
January 14, 1929 - The Biloxi Daily Herald
Vitaphone made a big impression on movie audiences in 1929, as these newspaper ads for the Biloxi (Mississippi) Laundry and Biloxi Tire Works attest. Advertising tells us a lot about society at any window in time. While scientific evidence does not exist that shows that either men's or ladies' garments were particularly aware of the coming of sound, it is interesting to note that the laundry was 'strictly sanitary', unlike its competition which apparently did its cleaning in the Biloxi municipal sewage plant. The Biloxi Tire Works asks that you phone them day or night when you need road service, suggesting the availability of cellular phones long before they were popular with the rest of the population. The ads coincided with the opening of the new Vitaphone equipped Saenger Theatre in Biloxi.
Newspaper ads provided by William J. Hooper