Main Street Amusements: Movies and Commercial Entertainment in a Southern City, 1896-1930
Surveying the growth of local movie and vaudeville theaters from 1906 to 1916, Waller analyzes reform efforts and protest campaigns that concerned ... Show synopsis Surveying the growth of local movie and vaudeville theaters from 1906 to 1916, Waller analyzes reform efforts and protest campaigns that concerned theater safety codes, Sunday film showings, censorship, and, most notably, the highly controversial screening of The Birth of a Nation. Providing both the black and white civic and church responses to these developments, he demonstrates how the emergence of movies fostered the rise of Lexington's contradictory self-image as both a cosmopolitan center and a guardian of traditional southern values. Greeted at times with suspicion and contempt, movies gradually won the hearts of Lexingtonians because movie-hall owners convinced the public that the movies' promise of pleasure rested safely within the bounds of middle-class propriety. Covering movies exhibited from before World War I through the 1920s, Main Street Amusements provides a unique perspective on the rise of popular culture below the Mason Dixon Line.