This is a very interesting blog I found written by By C.J. Lais, Times Union that I felt was worth sharing... This blog – and its very subject matter – might not exist if not for an event that happened exactly 111 years ago today. On April 2, 1902, Tally’s Electric Theatre in Los Angeles opened its doors as the first permanent movie theater designed specifically for the exhibition of films.* OK, so some other theater in some other place would have opened soon after, probably the next day, and that would be the landmark and that date would be the one remembered. And other sources are unsure of the exact date, some claiming it was April 16. But let’s just stick with the record and celebrate this one.
Prior to the Electric, the new “amusements” of motion pictures were shown in storefronts and decrepit first floors of existing buildings, sometimes in France, sometimes in other parts of the United States. When Thomas Lincoln Tally had his brainstorm, it not only ignited the movie revolution, it also was the first brick laid in the construction of Hollywood as the movie making capital of the world.
Initial hours were only from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., but demand soon forced Tally to provide matinee screenings. Both day and night showings regularly sold out every last one of their ten cent tickets.
Sidenote: Tally was quite the movie pioneer on several other fronts as well. With James Dixon Williams, he founded First National Pictures, which began life as an association of independent theater owners in the United States, but then transitioned into production, too. It eventually merged with Warner Bros. Tally also was the first to show a color film in Los Angeles in 1912. And his company signed superstars Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin shortly before they staged their own revolution, founding United Artistsalong with D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks in an effort to control their own fates and careers.
Next time you are nestled into a reclining/rocking movie theater seat, maybe even tonight, remember to raise a popcorn or Jujube toast to Thomas Tally, for that day more than a century ago when sitting in the dark became Electric.
*Some say the Edisonia Vitascope Theatre in Buffalo holds the actual title, going back as far as 1896, but others say it was in a repurposed space in an already existing building.