THE GROWTH OF THE MOVIES
THREE EVENTS TOOK PLACE IN THE YEAR 1895 WHICH PASSED almost unnoticed in a world absorbed in affairs of more immediate importance: Two young men who had been following the path pointed out by Edison's invention of the kinetoscope succeeded in throwing moving pictures on a screen at a public performance at the Cotton States Exposition in Atlanta. This countrys first motor-vehicle race was held at Chicago on Thanksgiving Day, two of the six entries (gasoline-driven) actually completing the fifty-two-mile course in a little over ten and onehalf hours. And, on the other side of the Atlantic, Guglielmo Marconi publicly demonstrated (although the continuing skepticism of the Italian Government sent him the next year to England) the practicality of wireless telegraphy.1
The generation of the 1890's could not possibly realize the significance of these milestones in the progress of human invention. But here were dimly foreshadowed developments which were to have the broadest social consequences and affect recreation in this country more profoundly than anything that had ever happened before. There was to be a great expansion in sports and other diversions in the twentieth century, but within a strikingly short time from these inconspicuous events of 1895, moving pictures, the pleasure use of automobiles, and the radio were to become by every criterion the principal amusements of the great majority of American people.
Their popularity was a result of the changing social and economic scene. A century earlier it would not have been possible. The increased leisure and generally higher standard of living
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Publication information: Book title: America Learns to Play:A History of Popular Recreation, 1607-1940. Contributors: Foster Rhea Dulles - Author. Publisher: D. Appleton-Century. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 1940. Page number: 287.
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