Tuesday, March 17, 2009
still shots in movie houses
It is early in the twentieth century, and movie houses are springing up all over the country. During this time, nickelodeons were being replaced by a new industry. The emerging movie houses were given regal names such as the "Majestic," the "Imperial," and the "Plaza." Patrons were happy to pay the price of a movie ticket, usually 10 cents, to see the latest moving picture show. At first, single reels of film were projected onto the big screen. By 1907, multiple reels of film were spliced together and presented as feature films. Early audiences were lured into the movie houses not only by the western feature shown every Saturday but also by the promise of seeing still shots of themselves up on the big screen.
Traveling photographers earned a living, moving from town to town, taking photos of local people, especially children and nearby scenes of interest to show on the screen of the local movie house. The photographers were paid not only by the movie house owner who knew that local shots would be popular attractions, but they were also paid by the parents for the children's photographs. Eventually, these still shots of local people and places were replaced by newsreels of current news events, such as the world wars in Europe. These newsreels, precursors of the evening news now watched nightly, showed flickering images of real men going off to battle. The reels played before the main feature and were eagerly awaited reports of current events in the world.
I think it would have been absolutely fascinating to be a photographer back in that time!
If your interested in this kind of thing, you can check out the history on the Monterey State Theater highlighted in this link.
When Charlie and I are in Monterey, we always try to see a movie in this theater during our visit. It is truly beautiful! Do you have any special memories of a particular theater?
* I want to thank those of you who commented on my previous post for all of your kind words.
Muah ~ it was heart felt!