“Everywoman” at the Grand Theatre in Salem, Oregon

On September 4, 1920, the Capital Journal in Salem, Oregon, posted an ad for the black and white silent film, Everywoman. The ad portrays pictures of all the actors and actresses, including lead actress Violet Heming at the top center, proclaiming the presentation of the film by Jesse L. Lasky and “A Paramount Artcraft Picture.” According to the American Film Institute Catalog, the film was about 7 reels long, with a publication date of December 1919. The original publication date provides the information that Everywoman took almost a year before reaching the town of Salem for a showing, also shown by the date of the published advertisement.

The Capital Journal ad then describes Everywoman as “The imperishable Story of a Woman’s Heart – The sublime spectacle of lavish beauty. The Picture Beautiful Beyond Words.” Following the film description is a list of prices; 50 cents for the lower floor and balcony, 35 cents for the gallery, and 15 cents for children.

Capital Journal, Sept. 4, 1920, p. 2

This film was to be played in the newly renovated Grand Theatre, previously known as the Grand Opera House, as told in a previous Capital Journal article almost a month prior to the Everywoman newspaper ad. This begs the question, was Everywoman the first film to be shown in the brand new Grand Theatre? The timeline would match up, with the article announcing the renovation published on August 12, 1920, and the ad for Everywoman published on September 4, 1920, giving a little over a month for renovation and enough time to advertise the first feature to be shown. If this theory is correct, then it would also tell us that Everywoman was a relatively successful film, as the owner of the advertisement and newly renovated theatre would want to start off with a popular showing in order to create some excitement in the city and some revenue for the Grand Theatre.

Ye Liberty Theatre

Advertisement for ‘The Best Our Ambition’.  Weekly Chemawa American, 14 July 1911.

Above is an advertisement for the program ‘The Best Our Ambition’ at the Ye Liberty Theatre in Salem, Oregon. This advertisement was found in the Weekly Chemawa American newspaper which was published by the Salem Indian Training School on July 14, 1911.         

This advertisement was placed within a page full of various other advertisements. It is likely the school was trying to compress all the advertisements onto a single page, therefore this advertisement was not a central focal point. The advertisement states there is “matinee everyday except for Sunday,” and there are “daily evening performances.” The advertisement did not list a price for the showing, which is quite unusual when comparing it to various other advertisements; (and I doubt the theater was free). Placing the price on the advertisement would have been helpful.

The fact the advertisement is within the Chemawa Boarding School newspaper is interesting. This means the theater wants students from this area to attend the theater. I do find the this odd considering the students had to pay to leave the school, and then potentially pay again to see a program. These are young students, and it is likely this would not have been feasible. It may be more likely the theater wanted to reach the employees, not the students. Or perhaps the theater was very interested in having a younger audience.   

Looking at historical context, the use of this advertisement could be a way to further assimilate the Indigenous children attending the boarding school. Boarding schools have a history of wanting to strip Indigenous children of their language, traditions, culture, and identities. Films have the ability to influence individuals. It could be seen as a tool to illustrate a ‘normal’ American life to children they are trying to make more ‘American’.