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[book cover] Reel Time

Robert M. Seiler and Tamara P. Seiler

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January 2013

9781926836997 (Paperback)
9781927356005 (PDF)
9781927356012 (ePub)


Communication & Cultural Studies / Film / History / History: Canada / History: Western



About the Book

In this authoritative work, Seiler and Seiler argue that the establishment and development of moviegoing and movie exhibition in Prairie Canada is best understood in the context of changing late-nineteenth-century and early-twentieth-century social, economic, and technological developments. From the first entrepreneurs who attempted to lure customers into movie exhibition halls, to the digital revolution and its impact on moviegoing, Reel Time highlights the pivotal role of amusement venues in shaping the leisure activities of working- and middle-class people across North America.

As marketing efforts, the lavish interiors of the movie palace and the romantic view of the local movie theatre concealed a competitive environment in which producers, exhibitors, and distributors tried to monopolize the industry and drive their rivals out of business. The pitched battles and power struggles between national movie theatre chains took place at the same time that movie exhibitors launched campaigns to reassure moviegoers that theatres were no longer the "unclean and immoral places of amusement" of yesteryear. Under the leadership of impresarios, the movie theatre rose up from these attacks to become an important social and cultural centre – one deemed "suitable for women and children."

An innovative examination of moviegoing as a social practice and movie exhibition as a commercial enterprise, Reel Time depicts how the industry shaped the development of the Canadian Prairie West and propelled the region into the modern era.


About the Authors

Robert M. Seiler is associate professor emeritus in communication and culture at the University of Calgary.

Tamara P. Seiler is professor emeritus of Canadian studies at the University of Calgary. Reel Time is their second joint publication.



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Copyright: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License (CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 CA). It may be reproduced for non-commercial purposes, provided that the original author is credited.


Download the entire book

Select a Chapter

DownloadFront Matter

DownloadTable of Contents

DownloadList of Illustrations



Download1. Pioneers

Download2. Introducing Cinema to Prairie Canada: Movie Exhibition, 1896 to 1904

Download3. Movie Exhibition During the Nickelodeon Era, 1905 to 1913

Download4. Reforms and Regulations: Movie Censorship in the Prairie West

Download5. Grand Entertainment: Movie Exhibition During the Picture Palace Era, 1914 to 1932

Download6. Famous Players Canadian Corporation Limited

Download7. The Struggle for Control: Odeon Theatres (Canada) Limited

Download8. Consolidation

DownloadConclusion: From Peephole Parlour to Multiplex and Beyond




Reel Time is an essential reference guide for serious students of film. By reaching back to 1896, the authors set the stage and place the book in the broad context within a skillful blending of social, economic, and technological developments.”

Manitoba History