Source: W.E. Carson, Mexico: The Wonderland of the South (New York: Macmillan, 1914 – orig. pub. 1909), pp. 139-140
Text: Being 7091 feet above sea-level, — somewhat lower than the capital, — Puebla is a little more removed from the “northers,” but when one is blowing, the temperature at night is far from tropical. When I reached the city, the day was as warm‘as a ﬁne June day in New York; but when the sun went down there was a sudden change to November, and a good blazing ﬁre would have been a welcome addition to the comforts of my hotel. To while away the time, I went to a cinematograph show, but the cold pursued me even there. In order to ward off chills and pneumonia, I had to wear my overcoat in the hall, and even then I was unable to sit through the performance without going out now and then to get a hot drink. The Indians in the audience wrapped their blankets tightly about them and sat watching the pictures, grimly defying the cold. It was Christmas week, and a large number of these swarthy natives had come in from the country to do their marketing and see the sights. I witnessed an amusing example of their superstition.
An Indian family sat in front of me, and it was evident that they were seeing a cinematograph show for the ﬁrst time. The worthy peon, his wife and children, seemed bewildered with amazement, and frequently crossed themselves. At last some French colored pictures were ﬂashed on the screen. The ﬁgure of a magician appeared, looking very much like Mephistopheles, and in front of him was a pumpkin. This he touched with his wand, and immediately it was transformed into six sprightly ballet girls. After several transformations the wizard touched the ﬁgures, which disappeared in a cloud of smoke and ﬂame. This was too much for the Indians. The man rose, muttering “Diablo, magio, no mas, no mas” (the Devil, magic; no more, no more), crossed himself repeatedly and, followed by his wife and family, all apparently very much terriﬁed, hurried from the hall. It is safe to say that these Indians had a horrible story to tell their padre when they went to confession the next Sunday.
Comments: The writer was American and his full name was William English Carson, but I have found no further information about him. The coloured films would either have been hand-painted or used a stencil colouring process.
Links: Copy at Hathi Trust