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Flickering EmpireHow Chicago Invented the U.S. Film Industry$
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Michael Glover Smith and Adam Selzer

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231174497

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231174497.001.0001

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The Dawn of Exhibition

The Dawn of Exhibition

(p.28) Chapter Three The Dawn of Exhibition
Flickering Empire

Michael Glover Smith

Adam Selzer

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines the contribution of film exhibitions to the development of Chicago's film industry. The origins of commercial film exhibition can he traced to April 1894, when the first of Thomas Edison's Kinetoscope “parlors” opened in New York City, exhibiting the devices that had originally been planned for Chicago and the Columbian Exposition in 1893. A month later, more parlors sprang up in other cities, including Chicago, Atlantic City, and San Francisco. The earliest movies made by the Edison Manufacturing Company typically saw their subjects placed in front of a simple black backdrop with the absolute minimum of sets and props necessary to convey the idea of a given scene. Still, while he has never been anyone's idea of an auteur, nobody in 1894 understood the technological side of filmmaking better than Edison. Around the world, though, innovations were happening in spite of him, such as the “Cinematographe,” a combination movie camera, printer, and projector.

Keywords:   film exhibition, Chicago, film industry, Thomas Edison, Kinetoscope, Edison Manufacturing Company, filmmaking, Cinematographe, movie camera, projector

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