A Capitol Idea
A Capitol Idea
Roxy and the Birth of Media Convergence (1922–1925)
During the postwar period, film exhibition ushered in larger orchestras, more elaborate stage shows, and a growing acceptance of foreign, documentary, and avant-garde films. It was also a period of great technological advancement—of new synchronous sound formats developed by Lee DeForest and Western Electric, and, through the use of some of those same patents, the development of sound amplification and wireless transmission. This chapter describes how Roxy harnessed his growing political and cultural might and a host of new technologies to become not only the most famous film exhibitor in the United States but one of the most famous entertainers in North America. Roxy, for instance, integrated radio at the Capitol in November 1922 by broadcasting the musical portions of the show that preceded or accompanied the short and feature films he exhibited. These broadcasts were considered “radio's first genuine hit,” and Roxy's initial shows were heard across the United States, well into Canada and Cuba, and on ships at sea that picked up the broadcast.
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