chapter  14
16 Pages

The Harlem Theatre: Black Film Exhibition in Austin, Texas: 1920-1973: Dan Streible

When we think of the history of the traditional, American, moviegoing experience, a number of images come to mind: the mighty Wurlitzer organ accompanying a movie palace's silent-era feature, the iconic searchlights proclaiming a Golden Age Hollywood premiere, teenagers cruising at the local drive-in, an audience of otherwise sensibly attired adults wearing cardboard 3-D glasses, and more recently, young adults carrying fivedollar bills to the cineplex at the end of the mall in order to see the latest sequel. But while these iconic, even stereotypical, images suggest something of the truth behind the American movie theater's history, they also omit much of the social reality that has coexisted along with these instances of the mainstream filmgoing experience. While Hollywood features and first-run urban theaters may have greater single importance than any other mode of exhibition, a number of other important alternatives have fleshed out audiences' encounters with film.