I’ve been growing up watching daily soaps and serials with my mother, more than playing baseball at the backyard with my father. Comedy soaps like Friends, Two and a half men, The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and many more have always fascinated my thoughts and polished my sense of humor as I kept following them. But while watching these funny acts have you ever noticed audiences, who we cannot see but hear them, laughing and rolling on the aisles along with us? While watching any comic drama at home when I’m alone, I’ve never felt alone; It always seemed to me that a bunch of invisible friends are always there for my company, who are programmed only to laugh even to situations which are not funny. So who are these ‘cachinnating invisibles’?
Turning curious, I turned towards my mother for an answer and she took me back in history and narrated it like a fairy tale letting my imagination to create a fictional stage and the characters.
Once upon a time there was man named “Charles ‘Charley’ Douglass” who was born in Guadalaraja, Mexico in the early 1900s, to an American family. His family being from an engineering background, he grew up to be an electrical engineer, and eventually he found work as a sound engineer in a radio station in Los Angeles. Before the invention of television, the human race often experienced and enjoyed comedy; may it be on the radio, a pantomime being performed on stage or a comedy cinema. So the television producers endeavored to revamp this atmosphere in its early days by introducing the sounds of laughter into the soundtrack of television programs. Hence Douglass came up with an invention called the ‘Laff Box’. Just like a guitar playing a plenty of chords, the ‘Laff Box’ delivered an array of laughs; maybe it be giggling, chuckling or even guffawing. The idea behind the ‘Laugh Track’ is simply to provoke and instigate the laughter of the home audience.
(P.S: Did you know that most laugh tracks were made in the 1950s? So it means that most of the people that are laughing are probably dead! So this means the dead laughs at us! How creepy is that!!)