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Movie Theater of the Future (1930)

The August 3, 1930 Syracuse Herald (Syracuse, NY) ran the above article about the movie theater of the future, complete with robot staff.

Titled, "Television Soon Will Flash Talkies Through the Ether; Theater of the Future Will Receive Its Films From Afar," the piece opens by explaining how a single man at a central control booth could beam movies, via television technology, to multiple theaters miles away. The accompanying illustration shows a man opening and activating theaters throughout New York state.

The caption below our robot hosts reads, "Vic Lambdin, Herald staff artist, sketches the Syracuse theater of the future, operated by robots and automations, and [receiving] its talkie programs by television from a distant master station."

The analysis of economic forces behind the move to "talkies" is fascinating. And the feeling that a move to television on the big screen is inevitable is also intriguing given the fact that most people had never even seen a television set in person at that point.

Much the same economic factors that forced the motion picture industry to climb on the talkie band wagon will compel the adoption of television, this may be later . . . but more likely it will be sooner.

See also:
Thinks We'll Do Our Reading On Screen (1923)
Movie Trends of the 21st Century (1982)
How Experts Think We'll Live in 2000 A.D. (1950)
"Just Imagine" Pictures Life and Love 50 Years From Today (1930)
Robots vs. Musicians (1931)


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Reader Comments (4)

Very impressive. Predicting digital distribution of movies! Also, the robot usher looks remarkably like the usher at my local.

February 24, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Sounds like a very forward-thinking article, even if the facts didn't fully come to fruition. Any chance of getting the complete text?

Also, I love the "R.U.R." reference in the sub-title.

February 26, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterdeven-science

I was thinking of those satellite broadcasts of concerts and major sporting events my local movie theater has advertised in the last few years. It's not TV, but it is a distant transmission. The prediction also got one thing right -- nationwide TV broadcasting on a network -- but to the home, not your local theater.

January 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterVictoria

They do show some concerts and operas from Metropolitan Opera live in Finnkino theaters, here in Finland. They have yet to hire robots, but with the android technology advancing in Japan, that's only matter of time. In Japan they already have some robot receptionists in use.

August 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterYuho

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