Books and Movies Reviews

Early Theaters

Around the turn of the 20th century, America was a society experiencing big changes, unlike any that had been experienced before, and it was because of these changes that the birth of cinema was possible.Without certain conditions present it is unlikely that theaters would have grown in popularity so quickly or had as great an impact on the daily lives of so many people.The rise of big business changed life in America forever, spawning a massive shift in population from rural living, farming work to urban life centered on factory work, as well as triggering a massive "new immigration," swelling Americas already diverse cities with more and more foreign born citizens.It was because of these changes that the cinema was able to become a popular attraction, drawing large crowds consistently and competing directly with existing forms of entertainment such as ballet, live theater and vaudeville.
The rise of big business caused a transition in work from primarily farm type work to new factory jobs.This resulted in large masses congregating in cities, coming from rural America as well as immigrants coming from many other countries in search of a better life.These workers had previously identified themselves with the type of work they did, but the new factory work was not seen as much as an identifier, but rather a means to an end, simply what one did to collect a paycheck.The other important change this brought about was a new concept for the workers called free time.This was time the worker was not expected to work, but rather time that could be spent however one chose.Many people used this time to escape their everyday existence with some form of entertainment.The ballet, live theater and vaudeville were common outlets, though blue-collar workers did not see these outlets as easily accessible.Something new was on the way that would change entertainment forever: the motion picture theater.


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