Movie Article

Movie Theatre Time Line

The history of movie houses

1902
The first permanent movie theater is founded in L.A. It doesn't take long for owners to raise ticket prices from a nickel to a dime. Greedy bastards.

1913
The age of the grand movie palace takes off with New York City's Regent Theater (capacity: 1,800).

1917
Chicago's Balaban & Katz freeze out the competition with the country's first air-conditioned theater.

1927
Sid Grauman opens Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Hollywood. Celebrity-foot fetishists rejoice.

1929
The foreign-film snob is born: Herman Weinberg puts English subtitles on the German songfest Two Hearts in Waltz Time.

1933
Inspiration Point becomes irrelevant after the drive-in debuts in Camden, N.J.

1936
Popcorn is still being sold in carts outside theaters, but candy sales inside top $10 million (though no Swedish Fish until 1957).

1952
3-D movies bow with Bwana Devil, go big with 1953's House of Wax, but ultimately wane thanks to dorky cardboard specs.

1953
Richard Burton's head looks ginormous in The Robe when the CinemaScope wide-screen system debuts. It will last forever! (Actually, it was gone in 14 years.)

1960
Cheesy gimmicks like Smell-O-Vision, AromaRama, and electro-shockers under the seat (for The Tingler) prove a buzzkill to everyone except John Waters.

1961
Lana Turner joins the mile-high club when a TWA NYC-L.A. flight kicks off regular in-flight movies with By Love Possessed.

1970
IMAX technology premieres at the Fuji Pavilion in Osaka, Japan, causing a worldwide geekgasm.

1974
Atlanta opens one of the world's first eight-plex theaters, and there's still nothing good playing.

1983
George Lucas' THX sound system bows. The audience is listening. And now deaf.

1983
Chicago goes live with the first cell-phone system in America. And yes, we can hear you now. So shut it.

1989
The only good thing about those irritating red-dot laser pointers? A really funny episode of Seinfeld.

1998
Stadium seating and movable armrests become standard, further endangering date classic the ''yawn move.''

2003
Crying-toddler rights leap forward when Loews Cineplex launches Reel Moms to arrange showtimes for infant audiences.

2004
A St. Louis woman is arrested for using her cell phone during Anaconda 2 — but not, oddly, for buying a ticket to Anaconda 2.

Originally posted Aug 05, 2005 Published in issue #833 Aug 12, 2005 Order article reprints
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