video title: Sacramento Movie Houses: 1900-1926: Arcades to Auditoriums
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video source: macsd
uploaded on YouTube Feb 15, 2012

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duration: 9:54 minutes

Local History of Early Movie Theaters "Video of the Day" review by Alex Cosper on Feb. 15, 2012

This documentary traces the history of Sacramento's earliest movie theaters, beginning in the early 1900s. The research also provides an interesting outline of how the movie industry evolved in its first generation. Written by Tom Tolley of the Sacramento Public Libary, this documentary provides a wide collection of pictures, posters and insights. Sacramento had a history of stage performance dating back to the opening of the Eagle Theatre in 1849. The Clunie Theatre opened in 1889 and lasted through the 1920s showcasing live entertainment.

After Thomas Edison introduced motion pictures, the Casino Theatre at 119 K Street opened in 1901 and was an early pioneer in presenting films in Sacramento, which inspired Mike Smith to open the Acme Theatre at 1115 7th Street. The theater from a modern perspective was more like an arcade full of machines that played motion pictures for a nickel. These venues became known as Nickelodians. Other theaters that soon appeared included The Novelty Theatre at 603 K Street, The Unique Theatre at 1130 4th Street and The Art Theater at 222 L Street.

In some ways studying movie history has as much relevance as studying any other kind of history. Movie theaters certainly had a huge impact on transforming lifestyles, giving people a way to spend time together as observers of bigger than life imagery on a big screen. By 1905 Nickelodians had become a popular fad. Although Nickelodians eventually went away, the movie industry was more than a fad and developed into a mega industry. Of course, once Hollywood became the epicenter of the industry, it overshadowed the concept of regional filmmaking. What's compelling about local film history is that a lot of it is still buried, waiting to be uncovered.
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