Race & Ethnicity

Stories about race and ethnicity in relation to theaters and moviegoing

Taylor v. Cohn – One historical example of racial discrimination in Oregon theaters

S. Morton Cohn, as described in an excerpt from Los Angeles Herald titled “Theatrical Magnate May Move Here,” states, “The biggest realty operator in Portland, Oregon; a prominent theatrical magnate with interests in New York, Chicago and San Francisco and is a millionaire several times over.” The excerpt continues to praise Cohn in his endeavors and welcomes him to the city of Los Angeles. Back in Oregon, Cohn owned many theaters and was also known as a very rich man in the theater industry.

An International Mission

My main research throughout this course has been about Salem, Oregon. More specifically, my research has been about the Wexford movie theater in this city. Because of helpful resources such as newspapers.com, I have been able to find plenty of information about the theater and its surrounding contexts from newspapers such as the Capital Journal. However, I wanted to dig deeper into the different aspects of film and exhibition in Salem, so I searched “Mexican Film” in the database and found some interesting information.

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.