At the picture show: small-town audiences and the creation of movie fan culture
In this social history of the movies during the silent-film era, Kathryn H. Fuller charts the gradual homogenization of a diverse American movie audience as itinerant shows gave way to established nickelodeon theaters and then to more luxurious picture palaces. Demonstrating that the vertical integration of the film industry eliminated variety at the local level, Fuller argues that fan magazines helped to reduce the distinctions between rural and urban moviegoers and created a nationwide popular culture of film consumption. Analyzing the articles, advertisements, and letters in such publications as Motion Picture Story Magazine and Photoplay, Fuller shows that these fan magazines initially had catered to both men and women but by the late 1910s shifted their focus to young women who, entranced by Hollywood glamour, eagerly bought products endorsed by the stars. Although the transformation of the movies into big-time entertainment had multiple sources, Fuller argues that ultimately the maturation of the film industry depended on the support of both urban and rural middle-class audiences. Providing the fullest portrait to date of the small-town audience's changing habits and desires, At the Picture Show demonstrates for the first time how a fan culture emerged in the United States, and enriches our understanding of mass media's relationship to early twentieth-century American society.
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Photoplay Magazine Movie Fans and the Marketplace
The Regional Diversity of Moviegoing Practices
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actors actresses advertising attract Bert and Fannie Bert Cook big cities Blumer Cinema CMPB comedies consumer consumer-product Cook and Harris Cooperstown educational elodeon entertainment Exhibitor's Trade Review fan magazines Fannie Cook featured female film exhibition film industry film producers Freeman's Journal girls groups Harris company Harris show Hollywood Howe's ibid industrial films itinerant exhibitors Lynd male Mary Pickford middle-class Motion Picture Story movie audience movie fan movie fan culture movie shows movie stars movie theaters moviegoing experience Moving Picture Company Moving Picture World MPRC Papers MPSM nickelodeon theaters opera house patrons percent performance Photoplay picture palaces Picture Story Magazine played popular culture Quirk readers renting films Roebuck and Company rural scenes screen September silent film small-town movie social songs southern sponsored Stephen Bush tion town trade journals traveling ture University Press urban vaudeville viewers villages Vitagraph women working-class York young