Source: ‘All I saw at the Picture Palace’, postcard c.1910, from the Nicholas Hiley collection
Comments: This British postcard plays on the popular perception of cinema allowing sexual licence because it placed mixed couples in the dark.
Eyewitness accounts of viewing pictures
2 thoughts on “All I Saw at the Picture Palace”
Yes, it did go on throughout the history of the cinema, at least up to the 1970s…although not on the floor as seen in this rather fanciful Post Card…in fact, many cinemas encouraged it by providing double seats at the back of the cinema for courting couples to smooch together. There was also a lot of clandestine activity in the darkness between men and between men and young boys and, although this was not exactly encouraged by the cinema managers, many of them did tend to turn a blind eye to it unless one of the patrons made a complaint. I can’t speak for the modern multiplexes, but these days, such places tend not to be dark enough inside to allow such anonymous activity without being seen.
Interesting observation that cinemas have got less dark over the years, and that this may have had an effect on such activity. The postcard’s idea of the use of a cinema’s space is a little on the fanciful side, but all the more intriguing for its perception of a cinema rather than the practical reality.