Posted 15 September 2016 - 01:37 PM
I am so glad that Prof Gehring spent some bit of time in Part Four of his videos (The Transition to Sound) discussing the number of years spent changing over from silents to sound. Similar to the general misunderstanding expressed earlier about the availability of musical accompaniment in theaters, I believe there may be a misunderstanding on this subject. The country was still rural, based upon an agricultural economy right through World War Two (which ended in 1945, for those who may not remember). We had no highway systems to speak of because relatively few people had cars. We had no "rapid transit" systems outside the handful of major cities. Indeed, into the 1940s, many people still travelled by horse. Many people did not have electricity or running water in their homes. In the late 1920s and early 1930s--the period under discussion--the Great Migration into the cities was just underway and movie makers were still catering to the rural audience they had known for decades out "in the sticks." These rural audiences didn't so much "go to the movies" as having the movies come to them. They saw films not in grand movie palaces but in small, dark rooms that we wouldn't think to call "theaters" today. When sound was introduced, most of these could not be converted. They had to be dispensed with, and new theaters designed for sound had to be built. Obviously, the costs involved usually meant consolidating in as many instances as possibile; but serving this still geographically diverse audience meant consolidating as infrequently as possible, as well. It was a delicate balancing act, financially, for many years, especially as the burdens of the Depression squeezed everyone from all sides.
JaneNoir, Janeko, Mandroid51 and 1 other like this