Medford's Page Theatre Orientalization/Frontier Program

For my post, I chose an ad promoting a program at the Page Theatre in Medford that was published by the Medford Mail Tribune in 1913. It is an interesting artifact for several reasons: one of which is its design. Rather than putting the date, choosing to just have "TONIGHT" could make the reader feel as though it is an event they don't want to miss out on.

Page Theater ad, 1913
Medford Mail Tribune, Nov. 15, 1913, p. 8. Historic Oregon Newspapers.

The three-part program with Kathleen Mavourneen is interesting for its description as a "SURPRISE FRONTIER COMEDY;" in learning on Tuesday about how the frontier in Oregon was of special attraction to women for the freedom and independence it offered, having the combination of these three genres (assuming that SURPRISE is slapstick humor with visual gags) would draw in not only men but also women to the programming.

Additionally, presenting "THE ARAB DERVISHES" reveals the interest in entertainment at the time in orientalization and presenting this Arab culture as other and exotic. The wording of "Original Oriental," is curious, seeming to imply that this Ben Abdies performer was one of the first imitators (one which the Medford theater-goers would be aware of) of this certain style of entertainment.

Both billings feature comedy and this ad is interesting for its double-duty in appealing to Oregonians proud of their frontier legacy in following Manifest Destiny and settling in the new haven of the west as well as presenting Arabic culture as Oriental and a source of spectacle. This ad communicates that should the newspaper-reader spend the night at the movies, they would get a taste of both homegrown Americana and exotic non-Americanness. The ad reflects the importance of newspapers in the 1910s as beacons and mainstays of daily culture in American life, especially in consideration that they do not even mention the date of the show, just "TONIGHT." It also reflects typical advertising of movie houses at the times in emphasizing its architectural features and comforts with "Steam Heated––Well Ventilated." Certainly when this ad was published in November of 1913, the steam heat might be an equivalent draw to the programming.