Secret Cinema: MID-CENTURY LEISURE IN CLOSE-UP

Thursday, February 10, 2022 - 8:00pm

Venue: 
The Rotunda
Age: 
All Ages

The Secret Cinema will return to the Rotunda on Thursday, February 10
with another brand new program. MID-CENTURY LEISURE IN CLOSE-UP
features three amazing films highlighting the power and ingenuity of
two American industries at the height of postwar prosperity: The
mighty Wurlitzer jukebox factory and Philadelphia's Curtis Publishing
Company (home to the Saturday Evening Post, Ladies' Home Journal and
other iconic magazines).

The films, in black & white and gorgeous Kodachrome color, provide
detailed looks at the complex inner workings of huge,
industry-dominating companies that seemed essential and eternal in
their time, yet neither would survive the 20th century.

There will be one complete show at 8:00 pm. Admission is free.

Masking and contract tracing enforced. Seating is limited.

All Secret Cinema presentations are projected in 16mm film on a giant
screen (not video).

This screening is part of the Rotunda's ongoing "Bright Bulb Screening
Series," which once again offers free movies on the second Thursday of
every month, throughout the year.

Included in MID-CENTURY LEISURE IN CLOSE-UP will be:

A VISIT TO WURLITZER (1940s?) - This detailed trip through the
sprawling headquarters of the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company in North
Tonawanda, New York examines every painstaking step in the making of
the legendary Wurlitzer jukeboxes. Seemingly no part of their
manufacture used outside suppliers, as the many steps in constructing
the cabinetry and machining precision parts were all done in house by
expert hands. Meanwhile, the executives meet to discuss changes and
check on progress. The well-maintained exterior of the plant, complete
with flower gardens, is reminiscent of favorite (and perhaps
overshown) Secret Cinema film THE STORY OF BUBBLEGUM (which provides a
similar tour of Philadelphia's Fleer Bubblegum plant).

WURLITZER JUKEBOX ADVERTISING (1947) - This rare film appears to have
been made for internal use, to teach Wurlitzer's field representatives
how best to convince bar and restaurant owners to take full advantage
of the many wonderful promotional materials the company provided to
establishments hosting their jukeboxes (they must have employed an
army of salesmen to justify the making of this color film). And what
materials -- Wurlitzer decals, Wurlitzer three-dimensional posters,
even Wurlitzer cocktail stirrers! Where are these collectable
treasures today? Includes priceless views of a typical late-'40s
taproom…and a lesson in hard-sell technique.

MODERN MAGAZINE MAGIC (1956) - This colorful promotional film looks at
the many skilled workers who are needed to produce the magazines we
read, from the paper plant to the writers, editors, photographers,
layout designers, illustrators, cartoonists, advertising salesmen,
pressmen, and even typists of Braille editions. Made in vivid
Kodachrome, the short film resembles a stock-footage company's
"Fifties Lifestyles" demo reel, as we also glimpse families reading at
home and shopping for groceries, not to mention artist Norman Rockwell
at work in his studio. The film was sponsored by, and made in the
various facilities of, Philadelphia's Curtis Publishing Company,
perhaps the most important producer of periodicals in the 20th
century. The company's eventual collapse is legendary and the subject
of multiple books, though founder Cyrus Curtis' legacy endures today
through his former real estate: the company's mammoth Independence
Square headquarters building, and Curtis Arboretum in Wyncote, once
the site of his palatial estate. His daughter founded the Curtis
Institute of music.

All of the rare 16mm film prints in this program will be making their
Secret Cinema debuts. One title, MODERN MAGAZINE MAGIC, was shown 14
years ago using a damaged print. We have since acquired another copy
in perfect condition.

For further press information, call Jay Schwartz (Secret Cinema) at
215-360-2708 (this number is not for publication).

SECRET CINEMA WEBSITE: http://www.thesecretcinema.com

THE ROTUNDA WEBSITE: http://www.therotunda.org

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