Monday, April 23, 2012

Anniversary of the First Movie Theater

Movies Make Me Happy

I welcome this day that honors the birthday of the movies.

The first movie ever made was Eadweard Muybridge’s, “The Horse in Motion” in 1878. It was 16 frames and proved that, when galloping, a horse’s hooves do all leave the ground at the same time. (You can file that fact away and bring it up when there is a lag in conversation at the next party.)

The commercial screening of short silent motion pictures took place in April, l923. Silent films mostly featured live music. My very talented mother, when she was a teenager, played the piano in a movie theater during the showing of the silent film. How I wish I had a picture of that.

‘Sound’ movies were made practical in the late 1920’s. In 1927, “The Jazz Singer” was released when ‘talkies’, as they were called, were being made. By 1937, widespread production of the ‘talkies’ became popular.

When I was a kid, my brothers and I were treated every Saturday morning to a movie. But not just a movie, for the 15 cents we would also see a weekly cartoon. (My favorite was Betty Boop.) Then there would be a weekly serial, which usually ended with the villain tying the heroine to a railroad track or someone falling off a cliff. We would have to wait until the next Saturday for the next chapter.  We had 10 cents left out of the quarter we were given, which we spent on a candy bar and a drink.

Later, the movie theaters added a ‘game show’ during which you might win a set of dishes, some of which are now valuable antiques. Then when we were teenagers, if you lived in a big city, you would be treated to a stage show with the famous bands and singers of that era. Some teens even danced in the aisles.

Happy April Birthday to the Movie Theaters.

By Lois Jamieson

Don’t forget to sign up for our FREE Kids Without Stuff Newsletter. It’s filled with inspirational stories, inspiring quotes and fun holiday facts.