Profile America -- Saturday, April 23rd. Going to the movies is one of the most popular ways people all across the country enjoy themselves. The first time an American audience sat down to watch a motion picture was on this date in 1896, at the Koster and Bials Music Hall in New York City. It was not the kind of feature film today's audiences are used to seeing, complete with popcorn and previews -- it was more like a novelty at the end of a live vaudeville show. Its purpose was to showcase Thomas Edison's new projector known as the vitascope. Previously, people saw short films individually by looking into a box-like peepshow, cranked by hand. Now, there are 40,000 movie screens in theaters across the nation and they attract nearly 1.4 billion customers annually. You can find these and more facts about America from the U.S. Census Bureau, online at www.census.gov.
Sources: Chase's Calendar of Events 2011, p. 233
Statistical Abstract of the United States 2011, t. 1242
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