Newfangled Motion Pictures

movie-theater-blogTheaters were a popular form of entertainment in early Arizona and the first moving pictures came to the towns in the 1890’s.  They were shown wherever a paying crowd could be gathered.  Charlie Clark, of Jerome won a film projector from a traveling salesman in a card game.  He took it, along with some films to towns like Ash Fork, Williams, and Flagstaff where he held one-night stands. The favorite film was a prize fight featuring Gentleman Jim Corbett.  The fight only lasted a few rounds so to make the show last longer Charlie ran the film on the reverse side.  During one showing a cowboy was heard to remark, “Gee, look at Corbett punch! His left is just as good as his right”

One night cowboy from the CO Bar  ranch north of Flagstaff rode into town bent on seeing his first motion picture.  Sitting in the dark theater he watched the film open with several pretty young women at a country swimming hole getting ready to go skinny-dipping.  His interest piqued as they began to disrobe but just as they got down to their underwear a freight train passed by blocking the view. After the train passed the girls were standing in water clear up to their pretty necks.

The cowboy rushed up to the ticket office and bought five more tickets.  When the worker advised him the same movie would be showing over and over he replied, “that’s okay with me.  I don’t know anything about these new moving pictures, but I do know something about trains.  Sooner or later one’s going to be late, and I aim to be there when it happens.”

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