During Hollywood’s golden age—the 1920s through 1960s—nearly every American city and town had its own movie palace. Whether an extravagant, neon-clad jewel or of more modest proportion, the neighborhood theater was the anchor of the community’s social and economic life. Theaters were a community meeting place, an entertainment mecca for cities and towns that valued movies in a public place, vaudeville shows, recitals and informational presentations. Most of them were located in the center of the town square and were landmarks in the community. Many were architectural gems–ornate buildings constructed in a variety of exotic and opulent styles, including Moorish, Art Deco, Egyptian, Mayan and Oriental. These theaters were the “social media” of their time, experiencing the wonder of movies…in the dark.
From the ornate city palace to the intimate small-town movie house my photographic journey has taken me all over the country, where I seek out old theaters to record this rapidly vanishing era in American popular culture. Through this series I explore the history of architecture and design, the evolution of our social history and habits, and the importance of preserving a record of the past.