Introduction to Part I

Barry Langford

in Post-Classical Hollywood

Published by Edinburgh University Press

Published in print August 2009 | ISBN: 9780748638574
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780748671076 | DOI:
Introduction to Part I

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In August 1946, the first peacetime summer in five years draws to a close and the long Labour Day holiday weekend beckons. Filmgoers strolling through downtown Columbus, Ohio, faced a wide range of moviegoing choices typical of the nation as a whole. Columbus boasted four major first-run theatres, ornate ‘picture palaces’ constructed in the silent era, each capable of holding some 2,000 spectators, in a city with a population of just over 300,000. As in all the principal urban markets in North America, these showcase cinemas were owned by one or other of the so-called ‘Big Five’ vertically integrated producer-distributor-exhibitors: Loew's (parent company of MGM), Radio-Keith-Orpheum (RKO), Paramount, Warner Bros. and Twentieth Century-Fox. This profusion of picturegoing options testified to two unchallengeable facts: that ‘going to the movies’ remained in 1946, as it had been for the previous quarter-century and more, by far Americans' favourite leisure pastime; and that 1946 itself was the highpoint — as reflected in attendances, box office receipts and the major studios' corporate profits alike — of Hollywood's fortunes to date.

Keywords: Hollywood; Ohio; cinemas; theatres; Loew's; Radio-Keith-Orpheum; Paramount; Warner Bros; Twentieth Century-Fox

Chapter.  3868 words. 

Subjects: Film

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