Pictorium

Main & Liberty Streets,
Blakely, GA 31723

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This information is from an online history of Blakely:

In 1909, Blakely’s first movie theater opened in the Sam Howard store building at the southeast corner of the South Main and Liberty Streets. It was called “the Pictorium”. Straight back wooden chairs, about 150 in number, placed in rows with a five foot aisle down the center provided seating for viewers. These seats faced a white screen about ten feet by ten feet, suspended from the ceiling. The store “theater building” had an eight foot wide low porch facing South Main Street which extended across the width of the building. In the center of this porch, a six foot by six foot structure was erected and attached to the front wall of the theater.

A platform inside this structure was constructed but with a trap door to permit the operator of the movie machine to enter the operating area. Immediately below was located the ticket office with an opening through which tickets were sold. The machine utilized carbon sticks about half-inch in diameter by 12 inches in length. These carbon sticks, the same as used in Blakely’s street lights in those days, were connected into an electrical circuit. By carefully maintaining a gap or space of about 3/8 of an inch, electrical current jumped this gap and thereby created a dazzling white light which, when directed against the exposed movie films, cast the image appearing on the film onto the viewing screen. There were no take -up reels used at that time and after the film was cranked through the machine, it was captured by directing it downward into a sugar barrel located in a corner of the ticket office via a length of guano distributor pipe.

The operator had to be extremely careful to catch the end of film before it disappeared and “got lost” with in the barrel and also to keep a cool and careful eye on the film as it was exposed to the heat of the carbon ore light beam. Between reels, the audience sat with the theater lights on and gossiped. It required about five minutes to rewind the reel. Later, a phonograph furnished music between reels. Then came"slides" of nonmoving scenes.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

mikemorano
mikemorano on August 15, 2006 at 10:00 am

I found another theatre for this town of Blakely Ken McIntyre. The Blakely theatre was built in 1930s. Being restored for live performances. Want to be a team on this? You could add the Blakely theatre with both our names.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 15, 2006 at 10:46 am

You can add theaters relatively easily. Just follow the instructions. I won’t have time for the next week or so.

mikemorano
mikemorano on August 15, 2006 at 4:16 pm

The last time I added a theatre ken mc it was lost and didn’t appear. I had to have lostmemory fix it for me. I will try it again to see what happens.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on August 15, 2006 at 6:45 pm

It looks you did fine.

mikemorano
mikemorano on August 16, 2006 at 8:46 am

Yes. I am rather proud of myself. haha

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