Virginia Woolf

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the first movie theater in history, Berlin

July 3, 2017 Comments (0) Views: 344 Nostalgia

The first movie theater in history was in Berlin

The early forerunners to movies were the so-called magic lantern shows, that were typically given at fairs or magic shows. These lanterns would use a glass lens, a shutter, and a powerful lamp to project images from glass slides onto a white background.

Various mechanical slides were used to project the moving images. This rudimentary form of showing moving pictures was boosted by few inventions throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, such as the Argand lamp, the limelight, and the electric arc lamp, all of which helped the brightness of the pictures to increase gradually.

At the 1851 World’s Fair in London , the magic lantern show would become a real sensation among the audience.

The Berlin Wintergarten Theater in July 1940, photo credit

However, the site of the first sort-of-real cinematic experience was the Berlin Wintergarten theater, where, the Skladanowsky brothers had presented a short silent film back in 1895. As a venue, the Berlin Wintergarten theater had been operating since 1887, but the building was sadly lost in bomb showers during WWII, in June 1944. The name of the venue was picked by a theater in Potsdamer Strasse back in 1992, though.

The former Elgin Theatre in Ottawa, photo credit

By projecting their short movie at the Berlin Wintergarden Theater, the Skladanowsky brothers did write a history, but it should be noted that the venue was not a true cinema hall as we know it today, as it had multiple usages. As accounts suggest, Berlin will have only one “obscure and faintly disreputable” Kino by 1905 – it was known as the “Meeting Room”.

Film projections will only grow in popularity during the first decades of the 20th-century, so by the 1920s, the first stadium seating type of cinema venues will start to appear. The Princess Theater in Honolulu, Hawaii was one of the first venues to integrate such seating arrangement for its audience, having sharply raked rows of seats, starting from in front of the screen and going back to the ceiling.

Rodgers Theatre in Poplar Bluff in Missouri. This Art Deco-style theater opened in 1949, photo credit

Canada was the first country in the world to have a two-screen theater, that is the Elgin Theater in Ottawa. This was the world’s first venue to offer two film programs on distinct screens back in 1957. Today, the building of Elgin Theater is a home to a number of restaurants.

We also thought to remind you that London is considered to be the world’s capital city of imagination

In the United States, it would be Stanley Durwood of American Multi-Cinema to take the credits for pioneering the multiplex in 1963, after realizing that he could operate a few attached auditoriums with the same staff needed for one, by diligently managing the start times for each movie. The first multiplex cinema venue in the States was at Ward Parkway Center in Kansas City.


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