As noted in a prior blog, Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness (1927) proved to be a popular film. It played all around the greater San Francisco Bay Area, including at least two showings in Berkeley.
Back in the 1920's, films usually played a week in major cities like San Francisco or Oakland. In smaller markets, and on a second or third run, films usually played for two or three days. Those were the circumstances behind Chang's showing at the Lorin Theatre in Berkeley in October, 1927.
Chang returned to Berkeley the following year - and in a most uncommon venue. Like a few other select films of the time (such as Cecil B. DeMille's King of Kings - a favorite of the Methodists), Chang was screened for the public in a church. In this instance, it was shown at the First Congregational Church in Berkeley in January, 1928. The church billed the film as "unusual" "informing" and "enthralling." The screening didn't seem to be a fundraiser, as admission was free. Perhaps this screening, which included a lerformance by a lyric soprano, was just a social occasion provided for congregants.
Besides other local screenings, Chang also showed in nearby Lodi, California. That screening took place in October, 1927 at the Lodi Theatre, which was part of the local T & D chain of theatres.
As the advertisement notes, the New York Herald-Tribune said the picture "contains the most exciting moment in motion picture history!" The local newspaper, the Lodi Sentinel, even went so far as to state, "Chang towers head and shoulders above practically everything which has come to the local screen during the past year." Find out for yourself on Saturday, December 12th, as the San Francisco Silent Film Festival presents Merian C. Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack's Chang: A Drama of the Wilderness at the Castro Theatre. Further information here.