Tally Presents the Vitascope

The pioneer Los Angeles film exhibitor, Thomas L. Tally, first presented the Vitascope on July 25, 1896, in his amusement parlor at 311 S. Spring Street.

The International Photographer, August, 1932:

Tally 1

“Phonograph parlor in San Antonio in 1893. These institutions were sort of curtain raisers for the coming screen pictures, in existence at the time but not commercially. They were shown that year at the Chicago fair.

“This show [bottom] at 311 Spring Street, Los Angeles, marks the removal of T. L. Tally from San Antonio, being opened in August*  of 1896.

“At the rear center are two chairs facing an Edison peepshow on a screen. At the left side of the picture are the Edison kinematographs**, in the center Biograph mutoscopes, and at the right the customers are listening to phonographs. Mr. Tally is shown in each photograph.” tally 2

*Newspaper articles announce the showing of the Vitascope at the rear of Tally’s amusement parlor on July 12, 1896.


Tally’s Phonograph Parlor

Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

He is available for theatre talks and walking tours in 2015-2016: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

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