Out of the Darkness

Source: Allan Morley, ‘Our Cinematographic Cartoons, no. 50 – Out of the Darkness’, Pictures and the Picturegoer, 13 February 1916, p. 475

Comments: Allan Morley is probably the comic artist of that name (1895-1960) who worked for DC Thomson magazines from the 1920s to the 1950s, including work for such children’s comics as The Beano and The Dandy. The legend that accompanies the cartoon reads: “Pictures are often amusing, but the conversations of picturegoers are very often more so. Our cartoonist presents a sample of what he has overheard at sundry cinemas”. The use of speech bubbles to reveal the conversations of a film audience in the dark is also employed in the postcards ‘The Bioscope‘ and ‘In the Cinema‘ previously featured on this site. Pictures and the Picturegoer was a British film trade journal. My thanks to Maria Velez for having first tweeted this image.

Links: Copy at Internet Archive

There’s a Reason

Source: H.F. Hoffman, ‘There’s a Reason’, Moving Picture World, 20 August 1910, p. 403

Comments: H.F. Hoffman was an American film lecturer, cartoonist and occasional writer for Moving Picture World. This cartoon appeared at the time when the film of the world heavyweight boxing championship won on 4 July 1910 by the black Jack Johnson against the white Jim Jeffries was causing great controversy across America – because it showed a black victory, because prizefighting existed in a semi-illegal status, and because the result had been so popular among the black community. Hoffman’s point in producing the cartoon appears to have been to argue for continued segregation of theatre audiences along race lines. The audience in the stalls are desegregated, which those in the balcony are all black (the standard arrangement for accommodating black audiences in the American south at this time). A report on the Johnson-Jeffries fight film on the opposite page to this cartoon reinforces the likely connection.

Links: Copy at Internet Archive

Faces in the Audience

Source: Carothers, ‘Faces in the Audience’, Motion Picture Magazine, February 1915, p. 140

Comments: A cartoon from the American fan magazine Motion Picture Magazine, signed (it would appear) ‘Carothers’. The film actors referred to are J. Warren Kerrigan, Ford Sterling, Broncho Billy Anderson, Grace Cunard, Mabel Normand, child actor Little Billy Jacobs, Francis X. Bushman, Blanche Sweet and Cleo Madison. ‘The Mutual Girl’ refers to Our Mutual Girl, a serial made by the Mutual Picture Corporation, starring Norma Phillips.

Links: Copy at Internet Archive

Them was the Good Old Days

Source: Thornton Fisher, ‘Them was the Good Old Days, or words to that effect’ (‘Grinding the Crank’ series), Moving Picture World, 10 August 1918, p. 831



Comments: Thornton Fisher (1888-1975) was an American cartoonist, illustrator and radio sports commentator. This cartoon for a 1918 film journal already looks back on the development of the cinema business with nostalgia. My thanks to Beth Corzo-Duchardt for bringing this to my attention.

Links: Copy on Internet Archive

A long-felt want

Source: ‘A long-felt want: a Cinema designed for both Lovers and Picture-Lovers’, from The Humourist (1925), reproduced in E.S. Turner, A History of Courting (New York: Dutton, 1955), p. 245


Comments: E.S. Turner was a British journalist and author of popular social histories. His A History of Courting has a chapter on cinema, entitled ‘Lessons in the Dark’.

Links: Copy of book at Hathi Trust