Cinema History and our Changing Mediascape

Let me take you back to a time when households didn’t have Television and there was no private media spaces. 1950, my father was 7 and every Saturday morning he would walk to his local cinema in Beverly, England. The cinema was run by the ABC and he attended the session called ABC minors. Cartoons such as Mickey Mouse Clubhouse and films like the Lone Ranger were played for approximately 2 hours. This public media space held up to approximately 500 people much larger than the local cinemas I attend in Cronulla. For a sixpence he and hundreds of other children attended the cinemas weekly.

During that period of history the cinemas was not only used to play films and cartoons but also the news. This was the only visual way citizens could view the news. However one major problem with this was that this news often came from foreign countries like Egypt and took up to two weeks to reach the local cinema. If we compare this to today were news on Twitter can travel faster than an earthquake it shows the full limitations technology placed on the audiences ability to access media back then.

Today we can watch the media whenever and wherever we like. On a train or on the toilet. We can also decide whom we watch it with. Were as my father was given no choice where he sat and who he shared the Cinema with. He did recall that many children ran around and played games in the cinema, which is much different to the social norms of today, where if a child disturbs the audience it is expected that they would leave.

Likewise, there was absolutely no surveillance in the cinemas back then, and when I told him that we are constantly being watched when we attend the cinemas he wasn’t surprised. Comment below and let me know what you think about being watched!!

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About Nicola Salter

Nicola. 21. UOW Graduate
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