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Movie theaters have been part of American pop culture for more than 100 years now. But over the years, movie theaters have changed a lot. Here are 9 things we don’t see in movie theaters anymore.
1. Newsreels. Before there was television, people used to get their news in two ways; a newspaper or a newsreel before you watched a movie in a theater.
2. Cartoons. You’d also sometimes get a short cartoon before the movie started too.
3. Serials. If you were really lucky, you’d get a newsreel, a cartoon, and a short serial to entice you back to the theater. These were short films that would end with a cliffhanger, so you’d have to come back the next week to see what happened next in the story. All of these fun things before the movie started. Now we get an endless stream of commercials and movie trailers.
4. Double Features. Sometimes, these theater extras would play between double features. Although double features still happen, they don’t happen as much as they used to.
5. Intermission. Sometimes movies were so long that they had to be split into two parts with a 10-minute intermission in between. At this time, movie theaters would remind guests that there was a lobby where you can buy more candy, popcorn, soda, and other concessions.
6. Smoking. At one point in American history, you could smoke anywhere and everywhere, including movie theaters. In fact, theaters would accommodate smokers and equip theater seats with ashtrays in the armrest, where you might find cupholders for you giant soda pop. During the 80s, smoking became less and less accepted in public and there were designated sections for smokers and nonsmokers. And now, you can’t smoke anywhere.
7. Red Velvet Curtains. Back in the day, going to the movies was a classy event that didn’t happen on an everyday basis. When people flocked to theaters, they would sit and patiently wait for the feature film to start without distractions like loud music, commercials, or movie trivia on movie screens, which were covered with red velvet curtains. Once the curtains were drawn, the feature would begin and everyone knew not to talk during the movie.
8. Cry Rooms. Sometimes people would come to movie theaters with their babies. While people still do this today (for some strange reason, calling babysitters never occurred to these people), there were fully operational cry rooms at the back of most theaters. In these rooms, parents could watch the movie and attend to their crying babies without disrupting the other people around them. Seems like a novel idea that should come back, or maybe you shouldn’t bring your baby to the movies at all.
9. Ladies Please Remove Your Hats. Back in the day, people used to dress up to go out, even to the movies. Pretty much any place where you were in public, you’d want to look your best. This included wearing hats. To remind women to take off their hats, you’d see signs all over the lobby of movie theaters. Always remember, there’s someone probably sitting behind you while watching the movie. Over the years, these signs were replaced with “No Texting, or Checking Your Damn Phone During the Movie” signs.