Cinema: Mr. Motion Picture

By 1907 the citizens of Haverhill, Mass. had shrugged off the motion picture as a flickering freak. Then an enterprising young (22) junkman named Louis Burt Mayer came to town and laid out $600 as a down payment on a onetime burlesque house. Mayer hid the shoddy past of his theater with a coat of white paint, installed an organ, and dug up a religious film called From the Manger to the Cross. His opening was a socko success. The lines of ticket buyers taught L. B. Mayer a lesson he never forgot: Americans...

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