Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Edisonia Hall/Vitascope Theater 125 Years -- October 19, 2021

Moving Picture World, 18-April-1914

Mitchel and Moe Mark (the Mark Brothers, not Marx) operated Edisonia Hall, an amusement arcade in Buffalo, New York. On 19-April-1896, they moved to a larger location in the new Ellicott Square Building, which still stands. In the basement they opened Vitascope Hall, which may have been the first purpose-built movie theater in the United States. Vitascope Hall lasted only two years, but the Mark Brothers went on to build and operate many movie theaters, including the opulent Strand on Broadway, which they opened in 1914.

from Terry Ramsaye, A Million and One Nights/A History of the Motion Picture, 1926:
THE Strand theater opened on Broadway, April 11, 1914 and the nickelodeon age of the screen was ended.

The motion picture had risen from the peep show novelty lo the status of a vehicle of pretentious drama, and now stepped forward to contest the supremacy of the speaking stage on "The Great White Way.''

In the history of the Strand theatre we may trace the lineage of the films, complete in every step. The Strand was the project of the the late Mitchell (should be "Mitchel") Mark, who began at the beginning. When the first Edison kinetoscopes appeared in 1894 Mark was conducting a phonograph parlor in Buffalo. N. Y., under the name of "Edisonia Hall." It presented scientific and electrical novelties, and was a dime museum of curiosities of the dawning era of electricity. Mark was really engaged in starring "The Wizard of Orange."

The daybook of the Kinetoscope Company records the shipment of a battery of peepshow machines early in 1895 to Estelle B. Mark, Buffalo. And when, next year, the Armat-Edison Vitascope projector appeared Mark hastened to negotiate for "a screen machine." Then after a time the firm of Mark & Wagner opened a picture show arcade in New York's Fourteenth street, an avenue to fame for many of the motion picture's illustrious names.

The opening of the Strand by Mark completed, in his single career, the entire evolutionary progression from the Edison laboratory machine of 1889 to the grandiose modern screen period. Moe Mark, a brother, and the Mark-Strand theatres, carry on the tradition today.

New York Sun, 25-October-1914

No comments:

Post a Comment

Comment moderation is turned on. Your message will appear after it has been reviewed.