Monday, January 31, 2011


Last week, I archived most of my movie theater collection on flickr. Yep, for years I’ve collected old tickets, postcards, snapshots and miscellaneous stuff relating to old movie theaters. When I'm out and about digging in antique stores or flea markets and I see a theater trinket - I buy it. (Well, if its on the cheap I do!) So many movie theaters from palaces to small town cinemas to ozoners have disappeared from the landscape. The only things we have left to remember them by are the photos and memorabilia that somehow survived. For more than a century, many generations have the shared memory of going to the movies. Unfortunately, not too many people ever thought to snap a photo of their local theater or keep their ticket stubs. As much as I love going to the movies, I never thought about taking a photograph of a theater until the mid-90's. You can see my set of theater photos here and my new set with theater stuff here.

Every theater has a story that can be just as interesting and dramatic as the movies they played on the screen. For example - the photo of the Burns Theatre below comes from a postcard in my collection.

This small town theater in Newport, Vermont had the oddest (and disturbing) giveaway promotion of any theater. They gave away a human baby girl! Yes, according to a post on the Cinema Treasures page for this theater, a little baby girl was to be given away back in 1939.

Some theaters have fun and clever names like the Lucky 13 Drive-In. Here's a ticket from this extinct drive-in once located in Boliver, Missouri.

Most theaters handed out little schedules listing what movies will be shown during the week or month. Most of these have fun graphics or picture a popular movie star. I like this one with the pair of giant penguins that have trapped a poor helpless movie theater in a block of ice.

So far, I’ve archived more than 300 theater items and in this set. Maybe you’ll find something related to a theater in your hometown or a theater that your parents or grandparents might have talked about. Periodically I’ll add more items to the set.

I’ll leave you with this scan - the cover of a herald from M.G.M.’s The Hollywood Revue of 1929 along with a great scene from the movie.

It stars Gus Edwards singing Lon Chaney’s Goin’ to Get You If You Don’t Watch Out. It has ugly dancing monsters and cute dancing girls!

Video uploaded by Mitch0115 a relative of Gus Edwards.

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