Wednesday, March 31, 2010

A Century of Cinema

Here's a book you don't see every day. It's A Century of Cinema In Sacramento 1900 - 2000, by Andrew Flink. The copy pictured here is the revised (and expanded?) edition of the author's earlier self-published book. This edition was also self-published, apparently within the last few years. We recently came across a copy of this hard-to-find title at a book show & sale in Sacramento. [Thanx to silent film collector and dealer Tom Tolley who pointed it out.]

The back of the book reads: "Andrew Flink, author of A Century of Cinema In Sacramento ~ 1900 to 2000, has compiled a history of theaters in the River City from a native Sacramentan's point of view. He has shown the rise and fall of the earlier theaters and the evolution of technology that brought movies to what they are today. He covered, also, the outward movement from the earlier show houses in the city, to theater locations in outlying areas of Sacramento County.

From the Sacramento waterfront, location of the Eagle Theater built for the miners in 1849, to the innovative IMAX in 1999, there has been consistent outreach keeping pace with Sacramento's growth. Because of this cinema has become an entertainment staple that shows no signs of going away."

Fink's book is chock full of interesting information and images.There are dozens of pictures of local theater marque's, lobbies, interiors, and stages, as well as advertisements for locally shown films. (Many of the images come from the the Sacramento Room in the City's Central Library, from the State Library, Sacramento Bee archives, and from the collection of Bay Area collector and author Jack Tillmany.) The book is composed of a decade-by-decade look at Sacramento's cinema history, as well as a location list of local theaters.

In the chapter on the Twenties, Flink devotes a number of pages to the glorious Alhambra Theater. There are a handful of images of the building's attractive Spanish-Moorish exterior and interior, certainly one of the finest in Northern California. The building debuted to much acclaim. At its opening in 1927, the first film screened was the Cecil B. DeMille produced The Fighting Eagle, with Rod LaRoaque and Phyllis Haver. At the opening, there was also a "Revue of DeMille Stars," which featured in-person appearances by Marie Prevost, Vera Reynolds, Elinor Fair, Sally Rand, Julia Faye, Harrison Ford and others.

A Century of Cinema In Sacramento 1900 - 2000 joins a small shelf of other worthwhile books on local film and theater history, including Geoffrey Bell's groundbreaking The Golden Gate and the Silver Screen (Fairleigh Dickinson University Press), Gary Lee Parks' Theatres of San Jose (Arcadia), and Jack Tillmany's Theatres of San Francisco (Arcadia) and Theaters of Oakland (Arcadia). All together, they help tell the story of our local history of film.


  1. Well, color me jealous! Looks like a terrific book. BTW, have you got The Fabulous Fox? I believe that was also self-published, but I have never seen a copy.

  2. Dear Rudyfan, should you like to borrow my copies (I have both editions), just let me know.

    I have seen the Fabulous Fox. It is a huge book. The copy at the SFPL has pages cut out. The copy at the State Library in Sacto is complete. It is terrifically expensive - two or three hundred dollars when last I looked.

  3. I've observed the actual Fantastic Sibel. It's a large guide. The actual duplicate in the SFPL offers webpages reduce away. The actual duplicate in the Condition Collection within Sacto is actually total. It's terrifically costly -- 2 or 3 100 bucks whenever final We appeared.

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