chapter  6
17 Pages

The Sin in Cinema: Movies

BySteven Starker

The audience for the movies was drawn, in part, from those who previously attended the live stage melodramas and/or the vaudeville shows. Outdoor scenes, crowds, chases, and exotic locations, difficult or impossible to capture on stage, were readily and accurately portrayed in the cinema. Some theaters went far beyond the necessities of middle-class standards, attempting to become luxury movie "palaces." W. K. L. Dickson, working at the Edison Laboratories, in 1892 developed a moving picture device called the Kinetoscope. Ten such Edison Kinetoscope peep-show machines were exhibited in New York City in 1894. The emergence of social work, in this era, created yet another group dedicated to the eradication of urban social evils. An editorial in the Chicago Tribune found that city's new movie houses to be "hopelessly bad" and "without a redeeming feature to warrant their existence." A New York Police Commissioner, in 1907, denounced the nickelodeons as "pernicious, demoralizing, and a direct menace to the young.".