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American ShowmanSamuel "Roxy" Rothafel and the Birth of the Entertainment Industry, 1908-1935$
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Ross Melnick

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780231159050

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231159050.001.0001

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A New Art for a New Art Form

A New Art for a New Art Form

Roxy and the Development of Motion Picture Exhibition (1908–1913)

Chapter:
(p.26) (p.27) 1. A New Art for a New Art Form
Source:
American Showman
Author(s):

Ross Melnick

Publisher:
Columbia University Press
DOI:10.7312/columbia/9780231159050.003.0002

This chapter discusses Roxy's early life and career. Roxy was born on July 9, 1882 in Germany. His family emigrated to the United States in 1886 where they initially settled in the logging town of Stillwater, Minnesota. In 1896 the family moved to the growing Jewish hub in Brooklyn. From May 1902 to October 1905 Roxy served in the United States Marine Corps where he learned the discipline and skills necessary for his theatrical career. On December 21, 1908 Roxy opened the Family Theatre in Forest City, Pennsylvania, a public entertainment venue that offered a mix of entertainments such as roller-skating, vaudeville, and motion pictures. On October 21, 1909 Roxy unveiled a new, more elaborate program than he had offered before, with The Passion Play (1904) as its centerpiece. The Passion Play gave patrons the chance to see and hear four soloists, “a well-drilled choir,” and an organist. This special exhibition offered a first glimpse of what Roxy would develop and market in the years to come: an elaborate presentation of film and live performance that catered to the classes and the masses.

Keywords:   film exhibitors, motion picture exhibitors, Marine Corps, Brooklyn, Family Theatre, entertainment venues

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