Racial Discrimination

Stories about racial discrimination in relation to theaters and moviegoing

Gem Theater, St Helens

The St. Helens Mist was one of the primary newspaper companies in St. Helens in the early 20th century.  After scouring articles that were available through the UO library website, I was able to find many instances of documented male managers and owners of theaters in the city of St.

Live Vaudeville Performances and Film: Linking Past with Future

“VAUDEVILLE AND MOVING PICTURE SHOW,” an advertisement in the November 27, 1909 edition of the La Grande Evening Observer describes a mixed-bill of upcoming entertainment to be viewed at the Scenic Theatre in all capital letters to grab readers’ attention. This cross-promotion of live and recorded entertainment is highly intentional.

Film Ban Expresses Racial Censorship in 1945

The esteemed Paramount Theater (also known as the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall) located on Broadway in Portland, Oregon, was banned from showing the controversial film “Imitation of Life”. The film, starring Louise Beavers and Fredi Washington told a story of a daughter in the film who supports the negro population by creating friendships and bonds in the negro community. The film expressed the cause of controversy in the white community.

The Infamous Mr. Pantages

Alexander Pantages was a Greek immigrant who opened more than 60 theaters across the western United States and Canada. The Pantages Theater circuit was quite successful, and three of its theaters still function today in Hollywood, Minneapolis, and Tacoma. During the 20th century, the theaters would showcase both films and live vaudeville performances.