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1930's movie slang


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30 minutes ago, Grumpytoad said:

I'm watching Twentieth Century (1934) for the first time. Fun stuff! 

One actor says to another "That kind of acting's for pins in a basement" 

Usually I'm good at figuring out old slang, but this has me stumped. 

Can anyone here translate for me?




I found this same question posed on WordReference.com and this reply sounds the most sensible to me:

A good play is performed on a stage in a theater. A very bad play is performed in any open space: perhaps an empty basement.

The audience for a good play pays dollars (or pounds, in the UK) to watch a play. The audience pays only pennies to watch a very bad play.

The cheapest form of payment was "pins". A long time ago, when one penny would buy a whole apple or a whole loaf of bread, people bought and sold cheaper things for "pins" (the metal things that you use in sewing)

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