First came the silence, when the average cinema audience would derive as much pleasure from a Charlie Chaplin short as the average deaf person. Then a talented pianist would be seated at an "upright" beneath the screen, playing an appropriate musical phrase for every pratfall and pie-in-the-face moment - at which point the deaf person was put at a disadvantage.
It wasn't long before the pit piano gave way to a pit orchestra, as class came to cinema in the shape of biblical blockbusters such as The Ten Commandments and Ben Hur. I was lucky enough to witness such an event, and the actual impact of arresting image plus live music is pure magic. But shows like these are now, unfortunately, all too rare.