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Chapter Objectives
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The Big Decline: Hollywood Loses Its Audience
After reading this section, you should be able to:
  • cite movie attendance statistics between 1929 and the present.
At Leisure: Recreation in Postwar America
After reading this section, you should be able to:
  • examine the reasons why the assumption that the decline in film spectatorship in the late 1940s and early 1950s was linked to the new availability of television is inaccurate, with attention to statistics of television ownership and available stations.
  • discuss the change in cultural desires from passive entertainment to active entertainment in the postwar period, and list several economic changes that might account for this change.
  • list several kinds of active entertainment that postwar economic transformations helped to popularize, and give statistics showing their popularity.
  • discuss the ways in which television was well-suited to the newly transformed leisure time of postwar America.
  • discuss the impact of America's move toward suburbia on film spectatorship, with attention to the availability of suburban housing and cars and the forms of film spectatorship these made obsolete or newly possible.
  • contrast the increase in numbers of drive-in theaters in the postwar years to the decrease in numbers of urban theaters, and discuss this contrast.
Fewer, Bigger, Wider, Deeper
After reading this section, you should be able to:
  • describe Cinerama, and discuss its invention and adoption, with attention to the technological processes of filming and projection as well as its effects on an audience.
  • describe 3D and discuss its invention and adoption, with attention to the relative qualities and technological issues of 3D films as well as 3D's cinematographic process.
  • describe CinemaScope, and discuss the ways in which CinemaScope adapted Cinerama's image and sound qualities for the projection constraints of most theaters.
  • list the aspect ratios of the various new widescreen film styles, as well as the "Academy" aspect ratio and contemporary widescreen aspect ratios.
  • describe Todd-AO, and discuss the ways in which the Todd-AO marketing campaign exemplifies the film industry's appeal to theatrical experience and active entertainment.
  • name several wide-film processes that arose as alternatives to Todd-AO in the late 1950s and early 1960s, and discuss their various successes in the film marketplace.
War With Television, Peace With Its Revenues
After reading this section, you should be able to:
  • describe the representations of television in films of the 1950s.
  • discuss Hollywood's adoption of television as an additional source of revenue and spectatorship in the 1950s.
  • define "pan and scan," and discuss the invention and adoption of pan and scan in the early 1960s.
  • discuss the history of both pan and scan and letterboxing in television, VHS, and DVD.
  • examine DVDs and cable networks as contemporary sources for film spectatorship, and discuss the effects of the "home audience" on traditional filmgoing.
After reading this section, you should be able to:
  • discuss the early association of blockbusters with widescreen processes, and the technological and cultural forces that led to their separation in the late 1960s.
  • examine the relationship of contemporary film exhibition processes to 70mm film exhibition of the 1970s, with attention to contemporary innovations in both image and sound.
  • describe the ways in which the contemporary blockbuster emerged as a response to cultural change in filmgoing practices.
  • discuss the current state of cultural participation in film spectatorship.

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