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Our holdings include hundreds of glass and film negatives/transparencies that we've scanned ourselves; in addition, many other photos on this site were extracted from reference images (high-resolution tiffs) in the Library of Congress research archive. (To query the database click here.) They are adjusted, restored and reworked by your webmaster in accordance with his aesthetic sensibilities before being downsized and turned into the jpegs you see here. All of these images (including "derivative works") are protected by copyright laws of the United States and other jurisdictions and may not be sold, reproduced or otherwise used for commercial purposes without permission.

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[REV 25-NOV-2014]

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Boots and Saddles: 1909

Boots and Saddles: 1909

"Majestic Theatre, Detroit, Michigan." Now playing: "Boots & Saddles." 8x10 inch dry plate glass negative, Detroit Publishing Company. View full size.

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"That 70s Indian War"

Interesting to note the use of decade nomenclature one hundred years ago, just as we do today: the '60s, the '70s &tc. Only in their case I don't think it was related to nostalgia and commercialism so much as now.

Majestically lit

The Majestic and the Hippodrome.

Lots of pairs

Boots and Saddles, Burk and Farlow, Dunbar and Fisher, Phillips and Jones, Salt and Pepper, Milk and Cookies.

Well, maybe not those last two, but is it any wonder why we had Laurel and Hardy, Abbot and Costello, Burns and Allen, Stiller and Meara?


Released in March 1909, this silent short was directed by Francis Boggs and starred Hobart Bosworth, Betty Harte, and Tom Santschi.

Bosworth, the "Dean of Hollywood," credited with moving the motion picture industry to California from the East Coast, acted in over 250 movies from 1908 to 1942, directed 44 known pictures from 1911 to 1915, and wrote 27 & produced 11 known pictures from 1911 to 1921. His actual count might be hundreds more.

Majestic indeed

I just love all the ornamentation of the old buildings here at Shorpy. They sure beat the mostly plain jane square block buildings we have now. It really gave you something to look at while waiting in line for the show to start!

Same But Different

It's still there. In 1934, the front 35 feet of the theatre was removed when Woodward Avenue was widened. The entire facade was redesigned into its current Art Deco facade.

[The building below was constructed in 1915 at 4136 Woodward. The building in our photo opened in 1908 on the other side of the street at 231 Woodward. - Dave]

Crane's "Starter" Theater

The architect of this house, C. Howard Crane, went on to design the enormous "twin" Fox theaters in Detroit and St. Louis, both of which still exist and are alive and well. The Majestic used to be an old dime museum building at 1449 Woodward Avenue.

[Howard Crane designed a different Majestic Theatre -- one that opened in 1915 farther down the street. The smallish building in our photo opened in 1908 -- a former store converted into a theater at a cost of $20,000. - Dave]

Boots And Saddles

The short was produced in 1909 by Selig Polyscope, a part of the Edison "Patents Trust" group that tried to control moviemaking in cinema's first decade.

This is clearly a vaudeville house that shows shorts as part of the performance. I don't know how true this is, but I've read that the quality of these pictures - particularly those from the Patents Trust - was such that they were used to chase the crowds out of the theaters at the end of each show. Whether that's a period joke or something with more than a bit of truth to it debatable.

Five and Dime

Ten cents to get in, five cents to get out.

SHORPY OLD PHOTO ARCHIVE | History in HD is a vintage photo archive featuring thousands of high-definition images from the 1850s to 1960s. (Available as fine-art prints from the Shorpy Archive.) The site is named after Shorpy Higginbotham, a teenage coal miner who lived 100 years ago.

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