April 2nd, 1902 – The First Movie Theater


In the late 19th century the new “amusements” of motion pictures were shown in storefronts and decrepit first floors of existing buildings, but this all changed on April 2nd, 1902 when Thomas L. Tally opened the first purpose built movie theatre, Tally’s Electric Theatre in Los Angeles, California!

Electirc Theatre

Some credit Tally with essentially laying the foundation for Hollywood’s growth as the capital of the film industry. In later years after 1902, Tally had the idea to create an organization of exhibitors, one from each major city, which would buy, or make, and distribute their own films. He presented his idea to another exhibitor, John D. Williams of West Virginia, who liked the idea and combined forces with Tally. They named their new company First National Exhibitors Circuit. The company eventually merged with Warner Bros.

Tally also was the first to show a color film in Los Angeles in 1912. And his company signed superstars Mary Pickford and Charlie Chaplin shortly before they staged their own revolution, founding United Artists along with D.W. Griffith and Douglas Fairbanks in an effort to control their own fates and careers.

Flourish 3

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