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Most of the photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs, 20 to 200 megabytes in size) from the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) Many were digitized by LOC contractors using a Sinar studio back. They are adjusted by your webmaster for contrast and color in Photoshop before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here.

 
 
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VINTAGRAPH • WPA • WWII • THE NEW ZEALAND FOREST, c. 1950

Movie Night: 1920

Movie Night: 1920

October 1920. Washington, D.C. "Lust's Regent." Theater impresario Sidney Lust's 18th Street cinema decorated for Halloween with an array of eye-catching movie posters. National Photo Co. glass negative. View full size.

 

More Film Information

Both "Jimmy The Soldier Boy" & "Little Red Riding Hood" (A Doll Comedy) were produced in 1917 by the Peter Pan Film Company. Milburn Moranti, the star of the film "Guilty," real last name was Morante. He has film credits under both names. His last credits were for TV shows and films in the early 1950's.

War tax

I looked this one up - the War Tax Act of 1917 was in effect a new tax code for the United States that, in addition to greatly increasing federal income tax rates, introduced taxation on newer technologies such as telephone communication and motion pictures, among other things. Although the tax on movie tickets wasn't supporting the war effort in 1920, obviously, "war tax" was still used in common parlance. This particular tax was one cent on each ten cents or fraction thereof on admission charges. (Interestingly, producers of motion pictures were also taxed at a rate of 1/4 to 1/2 cent per foot of film.)

Gone and forgotten

Regent was at 2021 18th Street NW at the bottom of today's Adams Morgan. The site is now a wonderful gas station/vacant lot. Theater operated for only about 10 years. This photo appeared in the Washington Times, October 31, 1920, p. 24.

Dates

His Picture in the Paper: 13 Feb '16
Hells Hinges: 5 Mar '16
Maid Mad: 3 Sept '16
The Pawn Shop: 2 Oct '16
Jimmy the Soldier Boy: 2 Aug '17 (unable to find any info)
Sinners: 5 Mar '20
Excuse my Dust: 21 Mar '20
Hairpins: 1 Aug '20
39 East: 1? September '20 (now considered lost)
Guilty! (can't find any info), Im sure somebody will ( Dave!)

Prizma 'a master production in natural color'

The Prizma Color system was a technique of color motion picture photography, invented in 1913 by William Van Doren Kelley and Charles Raleigh.

I cant make out what film it is but judging by the poster (the storks) it may well be 'In Nippon' presumably a film about Japan, showing off the colour technique

What day is To-Day

The coming attractions list shows for Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday, and To-Day. That leaves Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday as candidates for To-Day. Perhaps it was all three and the triple feature was used as a draw to attract the mid-week crowd. Since the "Special Big Show" was set for Friday, October 29, this photo was presumably taken during the October 26-28 time span.

His picture in the papers

The only movie mentioned here without a picture is 1918 Douglas Fairbank's "His picture in the papers". So here is the picture.

Discerning a time reference

If I didn't know better, I'd say this photo was taken on Christmas Eve.

re: Reruns

Hell's Hinges was also four years old at this point. For a change, I can actually watch some of the films seen advertised; I have that one plus the Chaplin in my collection.

All this for 20 cents

You could buy an adult ticket for 20 cents (18 cents plus tax) or a children's ticket for 17 cents. A true bargain!

And the Charlie Chaplin short is a two-reeler!

Reruns?

The Chaplin movie "The Pawnshop" was advertised as an offering by Chaplin Classics. It was four years old at the time of this photo, apparently. A re-run, already!

Wow, the films cycled rapidly! I had no idea, but it makes sense. Without TV's competition, a movie impresario could fill the house every night with a different program.

War Tax on Theater Tickets

I guess the arts supported WW I

Hyphens

When did they stop hyphenating "to-day?"

 
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Shorpy.com | History in HD is a vintage photo blog featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1950s. The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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