Thursday Open Line

For over a century, going to the movies has been one of the most popular ways people all across the country enjoy themselves. The first time a paying American audience assembled to watch a motion picture was this week in 1896, at the Koster and Bial’s Music Hall on West 34th Street in New York City. It was certainly no feature film. The movie was plotless novelty at the end of a live vaudeville show, showcasing a new projector of Thomas Edison’s. Previously, people viewed short films individually by peering into a hand-cranked peepshow unit. Now, there are nearly 4,500 movie theaters in the U.S. — most of them with multiple screens. Some 126,000 people work in this part of the movie business, one that generates annual revenues of about $13.5 billion. You can find more facts about America’s people, places and economy, from the American Community Survey, at <>.