Title: Morton Heilig Archive

Collection Number: 0148

Span Dates: 1944-1997

Creator: Morton Heilig

Extent: 100+ reels , 37 boxes , 50 inventions

Links: Morton Heilig Online Media

Subject(s): Morton Heilig , virtual reality , VR , inventors , inventions , filmmakers , filmmaking , Sensorama Machines , 3-D , 3D , Supercruisers , immersion entertainment , sensory , Experience Theater , The Learning Wall , motorized scooters , sporting goods , fitness equipment , toys , creators , visionaries , skateboarding

Notes: Morton Heilig (1926 – 1997) was a visionary philosopher, inventor, and filmmaker who has been described as the “Father of Virtual Reality.” In the 1950s and 60s, Heilig used his cinematography background to develop the Sensorama machine – an innovative, multi-sensory theater experience for small groups. Heilig’s other inventions include Experience Theater – a version of the Sensorama for a larger audience – and the Telesphere Mask, the first ever head-mounted 3-D display. Heilig was also the owner of Supercruiser, Inc., a company which sold his varied models of motorized scooters. As a filmmaker, Heilig worked as a director and cameraman on over 60 documentaries. His feature film, “Once” won the Auteur’s Award at Cannes Film Festival.

The Morton Heilig Collection is comprised of 37 boxes of Heilig’s papers, including documents associated with his company, Supercruiser, Inc., and his Jules Verne-like “idea books,” filled with futuristic invention concepts, as well as personal philosophy and notes. The collection also features Heilig’s documentaries, other films, and over 50 of his inventions, including three Sensorama machines, a 3-D 35mm motion picture camera, the Telesphere Mask, a peanut-dispensing clown, and the various Supercruisers, Minicruisers, and Roller Hands.


Citation: Morton Heilig Collection, Hugh M. Hefner Moving Image Archive, University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts

Location: USC Hefner Archive

Access: Available by appointment or some digital scans for a fee. Some online media.