It’s still the best way to see a movie.

First projected movie in the United States, on this date in 1896.

“On April 23, 1896, the theatre was adorned with a 20×12 foot white screen and, in the center of the balcony, a small booth covered with blue velvet and containing twin machines with turrets. Within this booth sat Thomas Armat. According to the next day’s New York Times, “an unusually bright light fell upon the screen. Then came into view two precious blonde young persons of the variety stage, in pink and blue dresses, doing the umbrella dance with commendable celerity. Their motions were all clearly defined. When they vanished, a view of an angry surf breaking on a sandy beach near a stone pier amazed the spectators. The waves tumbled in furiously and the foam of the breakers flew high in the air. So enthusiastic was the appreciation of the crowd long before this extraordinary exhibition was finished that vociferous cheering was heard”. For the first time in the United States and owing to Edison’s Vitascope, projected motion pictures had been exhibited for commercial purposes.”

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