The research on this project began on something of a whim. While looking at the Charles Musser documentary Beyond the Nickelodeon (for this course), I was struck by two pieces of information I had not previously known. First, that saloons were utilized as early exhibition spaces at the turn of the century, specifically in the lower class and immigrant neighborhoods of New York City. Second, that Edwin S. Porter actually made films satirizing prominent figures in the temperance movement, most notably Carrie Nation in Kansas Saloon Smashers (1901).
I grew up in barrooms and have been lucky enough to travel the world and visit some of the oldest bars, taverns, saloons, inns, public houses, and cafes in existence. It has gone beyond a hobby. It is a passion, and on this very blog I published a list of my 100 favorite such establishments, open or closed. The notion of my two life passions, saloons and the cinema, having a “special relationship”, was exciting. It sent me on this research journey.