The Moving Picture Show

Excerpts from “The Moving Picture Show” by Asa Steele, The World’s Work, February, 1911

“Yesterday 4,000, 000 Americans visited 13,000 picture-shows, They do so everyday. One man, woman, or child  in twenty-three, every afternoon or evening visit a cinematograph. They pay an average of seven cents each or more than $102,000,000 a year.

Among the illustrations are two photos of motion picture theatres, names and locations are not given.

moving_pe “A few of the 4,000,000 Americans who daily attend the motion-picture shows”

picture show_pe“Empty baby-buggies at the entrance. The picture show is one of the few forms of public entertainment that are always open to mothers  who must look after their own children.”

“The moving-picture shows have driven theatrical performances from 1,400 playhouses and claim a patronage three times as great as that of the other theatres.”

“Some of there ‘picture-show’ houses are mere store-rooms, representing an investment of only $500, but an investment of a quarter or a half-milliuon dollars is not unusual in moving-picture theatres of a big city. About $100,000,000 is invested in the business.”

“Last year $18,000,000 worth of motion-films were sold. These vast sums come back in dimes and nickels.”

 

Since 1997, legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle has presented a popular series theatre talks and walks. Currently accepting bookings for 2017:  historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

Del Valle has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

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World’s Dream in St. Louis

The World’s Dream Theatre in Moving Picture World, June 13, 1925:
“Its 140 folding-chairs and standing room for 200 made it a ‘picture palace’ of its day.”

dream

“The World’s Dream was the first exclusive motion picture theatre in St. Louis. John Karzin, shown in insert, opened it at 1413 Market street on October 17, 1906. Karzin is shown standing in the entrance to his theatre. He is the second figure from the left.

Next to him is ‘Doc’ Miller, his one-time partner. On the extreme left is one Schaefer person, advertising manager by virtue of being ‘Spieler-in-chief.’ On the extreme right is one’Doc’ person–last name forgotten–assistant advertising manager, since he was Schaefer’s assistant in the gentle art of the barker.”

 

Since 1997, legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle has presented a popular series theatre talks and walks. Currently accepting bookings for 2017:  historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

Del Valle has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

AboutMe

Goodreads

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Shelling of St. Marcos in Dubuque

The Film Index,  June 3, 1911:

“The Star theatre, Dubuque, Iowa, a cut of which appears here, is owned and managed by Harry Weiss, who appears as the second figure from the right in the illustration. The Star seats 325 people comfortably.”

stmarcos_pe1

“‘The Shelling of the San Marcos’ (Vitagraph) made a big hit, showing continuously  from 2 to 5 p.m. and from 7 to 9 p.m. for two days. He expended $10 per day on May 5 and 6 for display advertising.

“The cut shows a model of the old battleship Texas (San Marcos) placed above the theatre entrance, which attracted wide attention. The model was whittled out of solid wood by Manager Weiss, with a jack knife and chisel. The cannon are movable as are also the turrets and rigging.

“The neat and ingenious display forth many compliments from numerous patrons of the Star.”

 

Since 1997, legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle has presented a popular series theatre talks and walks. Currently accepting bookings for 2017:  historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

Del Valle has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

AboutMe

Goodreads

Medotcom

 

Arc, Schenectady, “Modern Electric Theatre”

The Film Index, April 9, 1911:

arc_pe

“The rectifier, enclosed in a neat glass case, is located at the entrance, directly opposite the ticket booth, where it can be seen by the passerby. The sign attached to the case and reading ‘Part of our electrical equipment that helps to make perfect motion pictures,’ is of unique significance.

“When the apparatus is in operation, the beautiful blue-green light radiating from the rectifier tube positively announces that the play is on and also furnishes an element of activity which attracts attention on both sides of the street fully as much as the elaborate electric signs.

“It really is interesting to note the drawing power  or advertising value of the rectifier thus displayed–a glance at the entrance shows there’s something doing, and that’s enough to draw a crowd.

“The brilliant pool of bubbling mercury a the bottom of the rectifier draws like a magnet, and the flood of dazzling blue-green light is mesmerizing.”

A Tale of Two Cities 

The above photo in an ad for the G. E. Rectifier, Film Index, April 22, 1911:

arc1

 

Since 1996, legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle has been conducting a popular series theatre talks and walks. Currently accepting bookings for 2017:  historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

Del Valle has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

AboutMe

Goodreads

Medotcom

Pleasing Pictorial Pictures at the Casino

Moving Picture World, December 21, 1912:

bison_pe

“Quimby and Quimby, of the Casino Theater, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, send a photograph of a prairie schooner which they use in advertising Western releases with good results. They write that they use the Universal service, taking first run on the Animated Weekly and supplementing this with their own pictures of local events.”

“They write that they have made pictures of fire department practice, the Tillicum Club in its new home, the parade opening of the Kootenai Fair and other local events.  The camera, printer and darkroom equipment were made by operator, Fred F. Baker, and negative and positives are developed and finished right in the theater instead of being sent East to some company. This avoids delay and enables prompt showing of the subject.”

“The local film is called the Casino Baby and the slogan is ‘Watch it Grow.’ A local film in a town of 7,500 people is evidence of hustle all out of proportion to the population.”

Snowball and His Pal (1912) with Francis Ford

 

Since 1996, legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle has been conducting a popular series theatre talks and walks. Currently accepting bookings for 2017:  historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

Del Valle has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

AboutMe

Goodreads

Medotcom

 

The New Healy Playhouse, 911 Houston Street, Fort Worth, Texas

The Motion Picture News, September 9, 1911:

healy_pe

“The above cut was taken from a postal card on the reverse side of which was the following communication:
American Film Mfg. Co., Chicago, Ill
Gentlemen;–This is what I do with your great Western features, two of which I receive weekly–Mondays and Thursdays first run. They certainly get the money for me. On ‘American’ days we average 2,000 people daily. The picture, as depicted above, is our lobby display of your film entitled ‘The Parting of the Trails.’ The reception accorded it was simply wonderful.

R. A. Healy”

From Moving Picture World, January 13, 1912

texas_pe

The Parting of the Trails

The American Film Manufacturing Company

Legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle is celebrating  twenty years of talks and walks. He is currently accepting bookings for historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

Del Valle has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

AboutMe

Goodreads

Medotcom

Times Square Theatre, 1446 Broadway

Moving Picture World, August 6, 1910:

times_pe

“If you should walk from one end of Broadway to the other, and also on Forty-second street, two of New York’s most popular theatrical thoroughfares, you will find but one, out of probably two dozen or more theaters, in which pictures alone are shown.

“This martyr of theaters is known as the Times Square Theater, owned and operated by the Saxe Amusement Company at 1446 Broadway, between Fortieth and Forty-first streets.

“Mr. [John] Saxe, President of the company, invited the writer to visit his house while the entertainment was was in progress, and I was struck quite favorably with the appearance of the building both inside and outside, and which I might state was recently reconstructed at a cost of ten thousand dollars.

“The theater is attractive though plain. Its walls, doors, and ticket booth are void of all those lurid and vulgar  posters. The interior decorations and frescoing are of pale green, and the electric lights are also protected by green shades, which renders a very pleasing effect to the eyes.

“The house has a seating capacity of 300, and is never in darkness; the lights are always turned on, but so arranged as not to affect the picture. A double dissolving Motiograph moving picture machine is used in projecting the best licensed pictures, relieved by an occasional illustrated song.

“We trust that the Times Square Theater will set the pace for other strictly moving picture theaters along Broadway.”

Photo of the Times Square Theatre is from Moving Picture World, December 31, 1910.

 

Legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle is celebrating  twenty years of talks and walks. He is currently accepting bookings for historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

Del Valle has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.

AboutMe

Goodreads

Medotcom

 

 

 

Comique Theatre, Kinnickinnic Avenue, Milwaukee

Motography,July 15, 1916:

comique

“The birthplace of the Mutual Film Corporation was recently unearthed in the form of a photograph which President [John R.] Freuler discovered among his possessions. It was the long forgotten Comique Theater on Kinnickinnic avenue. Milwaukee.

“Here Mr. Freuler was introduced to the motion picture business which led to the establishment of the Western Film Exchange of Milwaukee, which grew into a system of exchanges and finally developed into the Mutual Film Corporation.

“The film magnate is interested in the American Film Company, Inc., the Lone Star Corporation, which makes the Charlie Chaplin Mutual specials, Majestic-Reliance, New York Motion Picture Corporation, Vogue Films, Inc., States Film Corporation, North American Film Corporation and Signal Film Corporation. In addition he holds important interests in a number of other concerns in the picture making business.

“The development of all these concerns may be traced back to Mr. Freuler’s interest in the business created by his connection with the little old Comique.”

chaplin
From The British Film Institute

Mutual Films

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.

Now selling  on Etsy and Amazon

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.

**kinetoscope

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.

Now selling  on Etsy and Amazon

Holland Brothers’ Kinetoscope Parlor, 1155 Broadway, New York, NY

The commercial history of motion pictures begins on April 14, 1894 with the opening of the Holland brothers’ kinetoscope parlor at 1155 Broadway in New York City.

holland bros_pe
From Who’s Who of Victorian Cinema

Excerpts from The Sun, May 25, 1894:
“The latest of Wizard Edison’s inventions, the kinetoscope is on exhibition at 1,155 Broadway. Although the apparatus is to a considerable extent a resemblance to a toy that has long been a favorite with children, it has new features, and illustrates principles in photography, optical illusions, and electricity that render it of interest.

“Mr. Edison has succeeded in constructing a machine which brings a series of photographs before the eye with such great rapidity that the eye cannot detect the change from one photograph to the next. This produces the effect of lifelike action in the series of views. Ten views are now on exhibition.

“The first shows Sandow, the strong performing his feats. Then there is a scene in a barber shop in which a customer takes his place in a chair and the barber shaves him in regular style. Bertoldi, the contortionist, whose photograph is not more than an inch in length, gives one of her difficult exhibitions,

“There are a wrestling contest, a rooster fight, a Highland dance, an organ grinder with monkey, three blacksmiths at a forge, and a gymnast in a flying ring exercise.

“Three blacksmiths at the forge are very lively in their movements, it being evident that they are impressed with the importance of striking while the iron is hot. They are thirsty after the iron is shaped, and each in turn takes a drink from a bottle in a manner amusing to the spectator.

“Although the kinetoscope is far from being a perfect machine, it combines principles which Mr. Edison may greatly improve in the near future. The name of the machine is not an invention of the ‘Wizard.’ It is in the dictionary.”

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

He is available for theatre talks and walks in 2015: historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Now selling “vintage” on Etsy.