Source: Anon., ‘Picture Shows Popular in the ‘Hub’, Moving Picture World, 16 May 1908, p. 433
Text: A lady correspondent of the Boston Journal finds that the picture theaters in the city of culture are equally popular with rich and poor, and draw their support from both sexes and all ages and nationalities. Her remarks are as follows:
Have you contracted the moving picture show habit yet? Most of the folks I know have, though for some reason they one and all seem loath to acknowledge the fact. Perhaps it is because it seems a childish pastime and not just the form of amusement one would expect worldly men and women to patronize to any extent. The man or woman who occupies a desk at your elbow may be a regular attendant upon these instructive and wholly entertaining little picture performances of an hour’s duration. You will not know it unless by chance you happen to see him or her buying an admission at the window, or after groping your way to a seat in the dark find one or the other filling the chair at your side.
Visiting the little theaters that offer an attractive assortment of pictures has long been a custom of mine, though curiously enough I have not confided my liking for this sort of thing to even my intimate friends. In the past I have paid my admission, and slipping into a seat, watched whatever the screen had to offer. Yesterday afternoon, quite by accident, I learned that a congenial friend of mine had the same interest in these fascinating views of foreign
shores, of mirth-provoking happenings and of events in the news which form the basis of the entertainment, so we made an appointment to attend one.
While waiting the young lady’s arrival, I lingered in the entrance and for the brief space of ten minutes was absorbed in watching the manner of men and women who singly and in groups approached the box office and paid their admittance fee of a dime. All kinds were represented in the steady throng that sought an entrance. The first man who held my attention looked as though he might be a bank official or broker. He had that cast-iron, blank expression that attaches itself to men who constantly handle money or constantly think about it in the day’s work. The next were a family party of three — father, mother and a two-year-old child.
Then came a woman who looked as though she might be employed in one of the great department stores. She was followed by another group of three, all women, winding up an afternoon’s shopping in town with a few moments’ recreation before returning to their homes to preside over their own supper tables and afterward put the babies to bed.
Next came two men whom I know by sight and reputation. They are partners in a flourishing business in the down-town section. I caught sight of a doctor next, whose name proclaims him prominent in his realm of endeavor, and then of a man of whom I have bought steaks and chops and other good things for several years. Beside those whom I recognized or had some inkling of their object in life, there were twenty others as interesting and as different in appearance as those I have described.
I was about to give my friend up and venture in alone when another figure loomed before me which made me feel quite conscious. It was that of a woman friend of mine who seemed to shrink within herself when she saw me. She felt as I felt no doubt — like a child caught at the jam-pot. We smilingly exchanged greetings, she murmured something about “enjoying them so much,” to which promptly responded. “So do I.” The friend whom I had been expecting pushed me through the door, brandishing the tickets as she did so, and we gave ourselves up to the enjoyment of an entertainment that appeals to all sorts, rich and poor, intelligent and unintelligent, which is instructive and helpful as well as amusing.
Comments: This piece was originally published in the Boston Journal (date unknown) and reproduced with introduction in the film trade journal Moving Picture World. ‘The Hub’ is a nickname for Boston.
Links: Copy at Internet Archive