Page 9 - CinemaRecord Edition 3-2002 #37
P. 9

Cinema in


                          Rural towns kept up with their city cousins when it came to access to films.
                         When the Donald History and Natural History Group checked the files of the
                        local paper to research the story of films in their town, they tapped a silver lode.
                           The story would be typical of towns everywhere as a generation grows up
                         with the first moving pictures and their popularity seems unstoppable until….

                  otion pictures came to     was a viewer, not a projector. The  (Thomas Alva Edison’s Projectoscope
                   Donald in May 1897 when   Cinematographe was the name used   - stereopticon views with the
          M the following advertisement      by the Lumiere Brothers for their  Micophonograph) merited a much
          appeared in the Donald Times:      combination camera/printer/ projector.  better house than was the case. The
                                             The device brought to Donald was   majority of the animated pictures
                                             probably a Lumiere Cinematagraphe,  shown were much admired, and
               St George’s Hall, Donald      but who could blame an enterprising  evoked hearty applause’.
                                             showman for cashing in on the         The nineties were a time of
              TONIGHT      TONIGHT
                                             Edison name!)                      depression and drought; a time when
                                             Every Movement As In Real Life     banks closed and many settlers in
           Edison’s Greatest Invention          In 1899 the paper announced:    country areas were unable to make a
                                                                                living from their small blocks. Moving
                   “The Wrestlers”           ‘Kinematograph pictures are always
                                             popular, and Donald people will be  pictures were not a priority.
           Miss Lizzie Watton plays a piano solo,  pleased to learn that a panoramic  In 1907 Tait's Bioscope showed a
                 plus other entertainers.    display will be given in St. George’s  story of the Kelly Gang and gave a
                                             Hall on Saturday by Mr. J.T.K. White,  return screening in 1908. By 1914,
                23 different views tonight
                                             assisted by Professor Westbrook,   sensationalized events and fiction were
                                             physiognomist. Moving actually as in  the staples - White Slave Traffic shown
                  Prices 2/- and 1/-
                                             life -- Edison’s Living theatre! – The  in St. George's Hall, was an example.
                     W. Bartlett
                                             1898 Melbourne Cup, the Hon. W.E.  In the same venue the Donald Fire
                     Organiser               Gladstone's funeral; the Morning   Brigade, in conjunction with the
                                             Alarm (a splendid scene); Trick    Independent Picture Co., showed
                                             Elephants; A Street Scene in Paris  pictures, organised by Mr. W. Willey.
             In June another showman came to  (thousands of people moving on the   In 1915 the Melba Picture Co.
          town with Edison’s theatre, presented  stage); the Umbrella Dance; The  advertised fortnightly films for St.
          by the American Cinematographic    Derby (hundreds of people rush across  George's Hall -- the first regular
          Company. The program was:          the course). Every movement as in   showings in town. However, there
             The Paris Lightning Express     real life….’                       were difficulties. Owing to rain on 22
             The Return of the Fire Engine      The assessment was,“The         Jan. 1915 the Melba Picture Co.
             The Savages Dance               Kinematograph and the gramophone   vehicle was unable to reach Donald.
             The Streets of New York         possessed by these gentlemen are   The exhausted horses and men got as
                                             exceptionally good instruments, of the  far as Cope Cope after twelve hours on
             Sackville Street, Dublin
                                             latest patterns, and show scenes as in  the road from St. Arnaud. (they had
             The Boulevardes of Paris
                                             real life and talk in a distinct manner  travelled about 20 km.)
             Admittance was 2/- (20c) for front
                                             ... Should these gentlemen again visit  In December Donald reverted to
          seats and 1/- (10c) back seats. The
                                             Donald they will no doubt have a   the Wednesday half-holiday. Pictures
          doors opened at 8 o’clock.
                                             much larger attendance.”           on Saturdays commenced at 8.30 pm.
             (Actually Edison’s device was the                                  to allow workers time to arrive.
                                                Later, praise for another show;
          Kinetoscope, and until about 1897 it
                                             ‘The entertainment on Friday evening
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