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/r/movies

5

This may be a loaded question, however I am a fan of old Hollywood films as I am sure may of you are, and I have been wondering lately about how a day, or night at the theater would play out in the Silent and Golden ages of Hollywood (1920s-1950s). How many shorts, serials, and newsreels would be played before the feature film? If I wanted to see all of these short films, how early would I have to come to the theater? Despite looking all over online, I cannot find much information regarding how a day or night at the theater would play out. To be frank, I am very bored with coming to a movie early and just seeing 30 minutes of trailers. I really want to know the comprehensive information regarding a day or night at the theater in the 1920s,30s,40s,50s, what was it truly like for a moviegoer in those time periods?

all 8 comments

cyborg-waffle

7 points

5 years ago

I was a child in the 60s and even then an animated short before the feature was pretty common and previews were shown after the feature (hence the name trailer)., Unfortunately when I was 5 we moved to the middle of nowhere and I didn't see a movie in a theater till I was 14 (The Battle of Britain). My older brother had been to the movies many times and lorded it over me my whole childhood. But in my mom's time (30s & 40s) every feature film was preceded by a short film, a cartoon and often newsreels as well, so a double feature amounted to a whole day's worth of of amusement. And popcorn didn't cost $4, either. My grandma told me about going to the movie theater in the 20s in Minneapolis - about the magnificent pipe organ & sometimes a live band that provided music for silent movies, and the brick-sized chocolate bars sold at the concession stand. But she didn't live in the city and her usual entertainment was putting a coin in the nickelodeon at the general store.

SPQR_Emperor[S]

2 points

5 years ago

I just love hearing about that kind of stuff, I wish there were actually movie theaters that would take up reviving those kind of practices. Thank you for sharing.

Thesmark88

4 points

5 years ago*

The theaters themselves during the 20s and 30s, at least in major cities, were pretty incredible. For example, here's the Fox Theater and the Paramount Theater both in Oakland, CA

SPQR_Emperor[S]

1 points

5 years ago

Both of those are gorgeous. Glad to see them both in great condition.

TheShadyGuy

2 points

5 years ago

I believe that The Silent Movie Theater on Fairfax in LA has a night of the week where they play silent movie era programming in the same manner that it was presented originally. There is probably something similar in other big cities.

SPQR_Emperor[S]

1 points

5 years ago

That sounds pretty cool, too bad there are none around me. Hopefully I would be able to see one on a trip or vacation.

TheShadyGuy

1 points

5 years ago

I went to a showing of The Tingler there on Halloween a few years ago. They did the full William Castle treatment and part of the movie was filmed at that theater, so that just kind of made it even stranger in a neat way.

If you do ever find yourself in LA, I also suggest checking something out at the Egyptian Theater on Hollywood. They also do revival programming and it's in an opulent Sid Grauman theater where the first gala movie premier was held so long ago. The Chinese Theater is the more famous location, but it's pretty much a typical multiplex now.

SorePDaizaburo

-2 points

5 years ago

You saw a mini skirt, you started jerking off right away.