The age of the roadshow

posted by Michael Zoldessy on September 23, 2008 at 4:00 pm

Cinema Sightlines just debuted some new insightful articles on the roadshow era. In addition to a look at roadshows in general, they take a more detailed look into “Funny Girl” on its fortieth anniversary. That film will be shown next month at the Egyptian as part of its 81st Anniversary Celebration.

Theaters in this post

Comments (9)

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 24, 2008 at 3:25 pm

Roadshows date back to the early years of the cinema, when some “legit” playhouses and vaudeville theatres were pressed into service and kept the same policy of reserved seats and a limited number of performances per week. Movie roadshows became rampant in the 1920s and early 30s, until the advent of the Depression. To imply that they began with the introduction of wide-screen systems in the 1950s is a distortion of history.

AlAlvarez on September 25, 2008 at 3:03 pm

Where was this implied? Even the Widescreen Museum website dates them to the silent era. I believe “The Birth of a Nation” (1915) was the first roadshow.

MPol on September 25, 2008 at 6:39 pm

Roadshows are an important part of the theatre experience. Glad to hear/read that they’re beginning to make a comeback.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on September 25, 2008 at 9:18 pm

Where are they making a comeback? That’s news to me. They don’t fit into the current mode of theatrical distribution.

markp on September 26, 2008 at 1:21 pm

That’s the whole problem with movies today Warren. Nothing fits into todays mode of distribution other than blow out 5000 prints, get 2 weeks out of it, and off to DVD land we go. Maybe all these loser corporate dudes can take a lesson from all of us here on CT. “Anything old can be new again.” Wouldn’t that be something.

AlAlvarez on September 26, 2008 at 3:44 pm

I think the closest current thing may be the possible Oscar qualifying runs of “Che” at year’s end. They may be presented in two parts and with a boxed lunch as was done with “War and Peace” and “Berlin Alexanderplatz”. This is more due to the length of the film than an attempt at prestige.

MPol on October 13, 2008 at 8:33 am

I agree, movie534. What passes for the moviegoing experience today is certainly not what it used to be. “Anything old can be new again” would be possible, maybe, if there was more cooperation between the general public, elected officials, and the movie studios.

MPol on October 13, 2008 at 8:34 am

Well, when I’ve gone and visited several other theatre sites here in Cinema Treasures just to browse for the heck of it, I’ve noticed that West Side Story seems to be making a road show comeback. A good omen for this great classic, hopefully?

TLSLOEWS on February 28, 2010 at 10:28 pm

What goes around comes around.

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