Ron Hutchinson, an ebullient film buff who led a campaign to restore scores of largely forgotten short sound films from the 1920s and ’30s that featured comedians, vaudevillians, opera singers and musical acts, died on Feb. 2 at his home in Piscataway, N.J. He was 67.

His wife, Judy (Morton) Hutchinson, said the cause was colon cancer.

United by their passion for old films and vintage music, Mr. Hutchinson and four like-minded friends created the Vitaphone Project in 1991 with an ambitious mission. They set out to preserve the one-reel shorts that Warner Bros. made under the name Vitaphone Varieties at studios in Brooklyn and Burbank, Calif., from 1926 to 1931, as Hollywood was shifting from silent movies to talking pictures like “The Jazz Singer” (1927), the first full-length talkie.

Those early shorts used Vitaphone, a Bell Labs technology, which synchronized the speeds of the film projector and a turntable that played 16-inch sound discs. The challenge was to find the largely lost records that contained the voices of entertainers like George Burns and Gracie Allen, Bob Hope, Jack Benny and Rose Marie, as well as lesser-known vaudevillians like the comedy team Al Shaw and Sam Lee.

Warner employed the Vitaphone system for its theatrical release of “Don Juan” (1926), a feature starring John Barrymore. But that movie had no dialogue, only music and sound effects.