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Movie Mecca: 1937

Movie Mecca: 1937

1937. Movie theater in Crossville, Tennessee. View full size. 35mm nitrate negative by Ben Shahn for the Farm Security Administration.



Can anyone make out what the boxes are stacked in front of the grocery on the left-hand side?

[Ball mason jars, for canning fruit and vegetables. - Dave]

Not the Palace

This theater was at the other end of Crossville and the building still stands to this day but was gutted for the LP Shanks warehouse. It closed not long after the Palace opened in 1938.

This is a very cool photo that I've never seen before. THANKS for posting.

Re: Lobby Cards

Looks like the lobby cards are advertising "The 13th Chair," a mystery released in 1937 starring Dame May Whitty, Lewis Stone and Madge Evans.

See here:

Lobby Cards

Can we get a closeup on the lobby cards? Please.

[I'm a sucker for closeup pleading. - Dave]


But that's purchasing power...what about savings power? It was a savings account after all.

What would $180 in 1937 be worth 71 years later, if left in a savings account earning interest (and assuming the bank didn't go bust or anything)?

[Compound interest calculator. - Dave]


Well, hell, if all I had to do was go see a movie with some friends, I'd take the $180 even now. It's a month's gas, water and electric (twice that in summer!), or two months' groceries. For a small theatre as opposed to a major corporation, that's a pretty large giveaway!

Then and Now

According to my aunt, this theater has been called the Palace for decades. It's been restored and is used for pageants, concerts, etc.

Inflated Peanuts?

Well, after taking each monthly 1937 to 2007 dollar, via the Consumer Price Index site, and averaging them, a 1937 dollar averages $695.23, so a $180 bank account in 1937 would equal $12,514.14 dollars today. I'd take that!

[According to the CPI Inflation Calculator, a 1937 dollar has the same purchasing power as $14.60 today. So that $180 bank account would be worth $2,628. - Dave]

Mecca Money

Wow, a $180 bank account! I am going to be there.

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