|In 1896, he obtained a film projector and converted
the old ghost show, advertising his new 'Cinematographe' or 'American Bioscope'. He is now
generally accepted as being the first showman to introduce films to the fairground.
Williams' travelling bioscope booth - with ornate, gilded showfront,
electric lighting, fairground organ and traction engine - reputedly held up to 1,000
people, and a second show was soon acquired. After he died in 1898, his family continued
to travel with the Bioscope shows, incorporating more elaborate and expensive Gavioli
The importance of the fairground bioscope shows to the history of
cinema has frequently been underrated by film historians; the full story of Randall
Williams is finally being told by Dr Vanessa Toulmin of the National Fairground Archive,
University of Sheffield.