In this authoritative work, Seiler and Seiler argue that the
establishment and development of moviegoing and movie exhibition in
Prairie Canada is best understood in the context of changing
late-nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century social, economic,
and technological developments. From the first entrepreneurs who
attempted to lure customers into movie exhibition halls, to the digital
revolution and its impact on moviegoing, Reel Time highlights
the pivotal role of amusement venues in shaping the leisure activities
of working- and middle-class people across North America.
As marketing efforts, the lavish interiors of the movie palace and
the romantic view of the local movie theatre concealed a competitive
environment in which producers, exhibitors, and distributors tried to
monopolize the industry and drive their rivals out of business. The
pitched battles and power struggles between national movie theatre
chains took place at the same time that movie exhibitors launched
campaigns to reassure moviegoers that theatres were no longer the
"unclean and immoral places of amusement" of yesteryear.
Under the leadership of impresarios, the movie theatre rose up from
these attacks to become an important social and cultural centre -
one deemed "suitable for women and children."
An innovative examination of moviegoing as a social practice and
movie exhibition as a commercial enterprise, Reel Time depicts
how the industry shaped the development of the Canadian Prairie West
and propelled the region into the modern era.
Robert M. Seiler is an associate professor emeritus in communication and culture at the University of Calgary. Tamara P. Seiler is a professor emeritus of Canadian studies at the University of Calgary. Reel Time is their second joint publication.
List of Illustrations / ix Acknowledgements / xiii Introduction / 3 Pioneers / 17 Introducing Cinema to Prairie Canada: Movie Exhibition, 1896 to 1904 / 43 Movie Exhibition During the Nickelodeon Era, 1905 to 1913 / 73 Reforms and Regulations: Movie Censorship in the Prairie West / 115 Grand Entertainment: Movie Exhibition During the Picture Palace Era, 1914 to 1932 / 147 Famous Players Canadian Corporation Limited / 177 The Struggle for Control: Odeon Theatres (Canada) Limited / 215 Consolidation / 247 Conclusion: From Peephole Parlor to Multiplex and Beyond / 263 Notes / 303 Index / 359