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Movies & Entertainment Through the Years

By: Mackenzie M. Padula, 10/6/2020
Colonial Theater. Photo from: Union Leader

Once upon a time going to the movies or watching newly released films wasn’t as commonplace or easy as it is today. Especially amidst the global pandemic movies are being released directly to home streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max, and Disney+, sometimes as part of the monthly subscription fee, other times for an additional fee. For instance, the remake of Mulan was released to Disney+ for an additional $20, in addition to the monthly fee of $6.99.

When Tom and Olive resided at Lucknow Mansion, we know that Olive attended the movies in Laconia with her nephews. This would’ve been a day out on the town- requiring planning for transportation as well as timing of the movie release. Laconia had a few theaters to pick from. Silent films in black and white would have been shown, eventually sound was popularized in 1927 and color was eventually added to live action movies and cartoons.

Vaudeville entertainment was also widely popular for the time. The Colonial Theater* was a popular vaudeville theater that sits prominently on the main street in Laconia. Vaudeville theaters were known for theatrical entertainment including comedians, singers, dancers, acrobats and magicians. Tom and Olive may have also attended shows here.

Movies that Tom and Olive may have seen released in theaters include:

  • Way Down East
  • Over the Hill to the Poorhouse
  • The Mark of Zorro
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarves

Watching movies from home as we do today is not something that would have been available to Tom and Olive – at home entertainment at Lucknow was focused on outdoor activities, crosswords, reading, gardening and perhaps a game of bridge.

What movie have you seen recently?

*Colonial Theater is currently undergoing extensive restoration to restore the theater to its 1930s era appearance. This gold-gilded theater was complete with painted plaster walls, murals and delicate filigree. As time continued, the theater was split into two smaller theaters to show modern movies. It was left in disrepair for a number of years before the current restoration took hold.

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