Closed theaters — resources for SERIOUS researchers

posted by ElCentroGrad on September 14, 2006 at 4:07 am

Within the Turner Classic Movies (TCM) “Vault” is a short film titled “The Case Against the 20% Federal Admissions Tax on Motion Picture Theatres”. I recorded it sometime within the last decade and want others to be informed of its existence. It was produced circa 1952 (references “since 1946” and “within the past six years”) about 4500 theaters had closed (“one out of every four in the country”). Serious researches ought access the source files both in the Los Angeles archives of the AMA and the archived historical papers of the various State Representatives (Congress) who submitted data for the report.

The TCM film states the following number of theaters were closed in each state since 1946, per the Representives listed (spelling of names my best guess from audio):
Rep. Reed/NY 294 (# theaters closed since 1946)
Rep. Jenkins/OH 239
Reps. Simpson & Eberharder/PA 228
Rep. Kane/NJ 112
Rep. Curtis/NE 55
Reps. Mason & O'Brien/IL 285
Rep. Martin/IA 86
Rep. Holmes/WA 51
Rep. Burns/WI 69
Rep. Curtis/MO 111
Reps. Cooper & Baker/TN 47
Reps. Dingle & Knox/MI 186
Rep. Mills/AR 79
Rep. Gregory/KY 73
Rep. Camp/GA 68
Rep. Foran/RI 17
Reps. King & Utt/CA 272
Rep. Goodwin/MA 137
Rep. Boggs/LA 63
Rep.Sadlack/CT 31

Again, my point is that each Representative should have donated their papers to an institution (e.g. university) and those papers may detail the names of locations of the closed theaters.

If someone wishes a VHS copy of the short film, I likely could provide same. I simply hate to see these potential sources of information be wasted.

FYI, the film goes on to interview several theater owners (most are obscure, some now closed).

Comments (5)

JohnMessick
JohnMessick on September 14, 2006 at 8:22 am

ElCentroGrad…I do believe I seen that film. It was early one Saturday morning and I couldn’t sleep so I turned on TCM. If it the film that I am thinking of, it had to do with the admission tax and it seemed the theater owner was taxed on just about anything and everything someone could think of. There was even a tax on signage. How may I get a copy of that film?

ElCentroGrad
ElCentroGrad on September 14, 2006 at 11:02 am

John. I will send you a copy FREE if you intend to put it to good use (which I assume is the case because you take the time to visit and read postings at this wonderful website).

Simply send your mailing address to me at:
.

I will supply the tape on VHS so you need not worry about a computer virus on a DVD — cheaper for me, too. Usage intended to be consistent with the applicable laws for private use of taping from TV programs. I am not trying to circumvent TCM’s ownership rights. I simply want others to have the info; hopefully, their efforts will yield research for the benefit of we theater enthusiasts.

ElCentroGrad
ElCentroGrad on September 14, 2006 at 11:03 am

John. I will send you a copy FREE if you intend to put it to good use (which I assume is the case because you take the time to visit and read postings at this wonderful website).

Simply send your mailing address to me at:
.

I will supply the tape on VHS so you need not worry about a computer virus on a DVD — cheaper for me, too. Usage intended to be consistent with the applicable laws for private use of taping from TV programs. I am not trying to circumvent TCM’s ownership rights. I simply want others to have the info; hopefully, their efforts will yield research for the benefit of we theater enthusiasts.

JimRankin
JimRankin on September 15, 2006 at 1:15 am

Does the film/tape list only the totals of closed theatres/cinemas, or also the names and locations? Any other details about the theatres individually?

This is a generous offer you make. May I suggest you send off a copy for archival reference to The Theatre Historical Society of America at the address given on their web site: www.historictheatres.org ?

ElCentroGrad
ElCentroGrad on October 1, 2006 at 4:49 am

Jim, I will take your excellent suggestion: “…send off a copy for archival reference to The Theatre Historical Society of America…” — the more copies I send, the less my self-imposed responsibility to retain the original.

And, no, the less-than-30 minute video does NOT list the names of the 4500 closed theaters/theatres. Seems the congressmen were asked to compile and submit these lists so that the movie industry could argue/protest against the extreme and selective taxation (they did that well, in my opinion). The movie industry archives of 1951-1953 ought have copies of the submitted lists; and/or the in-state archives of the individual politicians likely are shelved “somewhere”. I hope/suggest film students in each state might be assigned the task/adventure of searching for and transcribing those records!

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