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Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Cinema

The first ever commercial motion picture house opened on April 14, 1894 in New York City at 1155 Broadway, on the corner of 27th Street. The venue used ten Kinetoscopes, a device for peep-show viewing of films, set up in parallel rows of five, each showing a different movie. For 25 cents a viewer could see all the films in either row; half a dollar gave access to the entire bill.

A San Francisco Kinetoscope parlor, ca. 1894–95.

The Lumière brothers performed for their first paying audience at the Grand Cafe in Boulevard des Capucines, Paris in 1895 marking the debut of the cinema.

The Regent Street Cinema in London played short footage by the Lumière Brothers in late February 1896. It was the first piece of film shown in the United Kingdom.

The first public exhibition of projected motion pictures in America was at Koster and Bial's Music Hall in New York City on April 23, 1896. It used the Vitascope film projector.

1896 poster advertising the Vitascope

Thomas Lincoln Tally’s Electric Theatre, the first full-time movie theater in the United States, opened on April 2, 1902 in Los Angeles. It showed short films for ten cents per customer. A converted arcade, The Electric Theatre was located at 262 Main Street - next to St. Vibiana's Cathedral.


The cinema organ, with its distinctive 'voicing' and its special effects was developed in the early 20th century especially by the Wurlitzer Company in the USA, to accompany silent films and to play popular medleys during intervals.

Scrap-metal dealer Louis B. Mayer renovated the Gem Theater, a rundown, 600 seat burlesque house in Haverhill, Massachusetts, which he reopened on November 28, 1907 as the Orpheum, his first movie theater. Within a few years, with Nathan H. Gordon, he created the Gordon-Mayer partnership that controlled the largest theater chain in New England.

The Duke of York's Picture House opened in Brighton on September 22, 1910. It is now the oldest continually operating cinema in Britain.

Opening day, 22 September 1910

Early movie theaters in Japan hired benshi, storytellers who sat next to the screen and narrated silent movies. They were descendants of kabuki jōruri, kōdan storytellers, and other forms of oral storytelling. With the advent of sound in the early 1930s, the benshi gradually disappeared.

The largest movie theatre in the world, Radio City Music Hall in New York City, opened in December, 1932. It originally had 5,945 seats.

Richard Hollingshead opened the world's first drive-in movie on 10 acres off Wilson Boulevard, Camden, New Jersey on June 6, 1933, with a screen of 40 by 30 feet. The charge was 0.25 ¢ per person, with a maximum of $1.00. The first film shown was the Adolphe Menjou movie Wife Beware.

The Camden drive-in theater was advertised with the slogan, "The whole family is welcome, regardless of how noisy the children are."

First drive-in theater, Camden, New Jersey, 1933

The Elgin Theatre in Ottawa, Canada, became the first venue to offer two film programs on different screens in 1957 when Canadian theater-owner Nat Taylor converted the dual screen theater into one capable of showing two different films simultaneously.

The world's first permanent virtual reality movie cinema opened in Amsterdam in 2016. Viewers can turn in their chairs to see the movie in 360°.

The Sound of Music had the longest first run in US cinemas ever at four and a half years.

At 62 metres high, Cineworld Glasgow is the tallest cinema in the world.

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