For my blog post, I chose an advertisement article about the Savoy theater in Medford that the Medford Mail Tribune published on October 3, 1908. The Savoy was the second moving picture theater built right after the Bijou. It is an interesting article because it was two days after its first opening on October 1 of 1908.
To open a second theater suggests that Medford people were really getting curious and interested in moving pictures in their town. The Savoy theater was a high-class, clean and luxurious building with slanted-down flooring, comfortable seating, and a nicer interior design than that of the Bijou theater. The Savoy simply provided the best quality performances and moving pictures in town. In one of my class readings, it was very common that theaters were unhygienic, had uncomfortable seating, and did not have the greatest quality performances or anything new, for that matter. People attended theaters that were available in their small towns to enjoy entertainment and had put up with the bad qualities regardless.
The advertisement article provided says that “the Savoy were unable to accommodate all the people who desired to attend the theater last night.” The article is apologizing to readers for not meeting the needs and excitement of their audience due to the venue quite literally being filled to the brim.
Vaudeville performances were still popular and captured the interest of the people in Medford. The Savoy theater was built for motion pictures but in order to attract people, they still had to be flexible in including some vaudeville performances.
I looked over the Medford Mail Tribune from the day before on October 2, 1908, to understand how Miss Brown's performance was advertised by the Savoy that could of have had appealed to Medford people excited and eager to attend. The advertisement on page three informs its readers that there is a change of program. The new program that night at 7 pm will be Miss Brown singing a beautifully illustrated song with orchestra music for 10 cents per admission.
Having Miss Brown singing over moving pictures had Medford residents eager to attend. In the article, it says that “the crowd waiting to get in blocked the street for some time,” illustrating the excitement of the crowd. Unfortunately, the Savoy was at full capacity and the guests that were still waiting outside got very upset. The people who were admitted, however, seemed very pleased by Miss Brown’s performance and moving pictures causing “a great deal of laughter.”
This article reflects on what I learned in class on how performances and moving pictures were common forms of entertainment that involved spectators in front of the spectacle. Combining these two forms of entertainment caused great appeal by transporting their audiences beyond what they are seeing to faraway places on the screen. Exhibitors advertised their theaters as luxurious to provide their audiences an illusion of the upper-class experience in order to compete with other venues. Also, small-town theaters gave residents a reason to attend and care about film, an experience that could be communicated with their peers about what now feels like a nascent form of entertainment.
Medford Mail Tribune. Medford, Oregon., October 1908 to January 1912.
Medford Mail Tribune newspapers from newspapers.com
Historic Oregon Newspapers, https://oregonnews.uoregon.edu/
Truwe, Ben. “The Savoy Theater.” Southern Oregon History, Truwe.sohs.org, 12 Mar. 2013, https://truwe.sohs.org/files/savoy.html.