Bijou Dream Theatre

16-year-old Helena Muffly wrote exactly 100 years ago today: 

Saturday, May 6, 1911: Ruth and I went to Milton this afternoon. I wanted to get my teeth filled but as the dentist was absent I was forced to wait until another day. While there we went into the theatre on Broadway.

Bijou Dream Theatre Ticket (Source: Milton Historical Society)

Her middle-aged granddaughter’s comments 100 years later:

I get caught up in the story of Grandma’s life—and have worried that she has had a toothache since April 11 (and again mentions the pain on April 15 and 18), but has not treated it.

I feel relieved that Grandma finally tried to visit the dentist—and disappointed that he wasn’t there. (I guess this was the era before appointments.) Hopefully she’ll goon get the tooth fixed.

The Movies

In 1911 Milton had a movie theater on Broadway called the Bijou Dream that showed silent movies.

Advertisement in Milton Evening Standard, May 5, 1911

It looks like four short films were being shown in May 1911. In case it’s difficult to read the description of the movies in the photo above, I’ll reprint the description for  the first movie.

 No. 1. The Mother—

The home of a lonely widow is visited by gossipy neighbors, conveying the sad news of the conviction of her only son on a charge of murder—a son she had not seen for fifteen years, and had mourned as dead. The devotion of a mother’s undying love for her boy, and determination not to desert him in the hour of need, is aroused. Going to the prison she pleads to see her boy. To save her breaking heart, the son does not recognize her as his mother, that he may save her disgrace and pain. She is not convinced and leaves heavy hearted, but ever determined. She hastens to the governor and intercedes, but of no avail. The death warrant is read, and all preparation for the execution made, when the governor receives a telegram that the real murderer has made a deathbed confession to save the innocent man. Phone is out of order and a human life is at stake. The governor’s daughter makes a wild ride and reaches the prison just in time with the reprieve.

Whew, what melodrama in the old silent films. I can almost hear dramatic music (played by a live pianist) reaching a crescendo as the governor’s daughter makes the wild ride trying to reach the prison before the execution.

5 Responses

  1. [...] 15, April 18), and how she was in pain for almost a month before she tried to visit a dentist  on May 6 (and how she failed to get the tooth filled then)—it makes me wonder at what age Grandma herself [...]

  2. [...] This is the second time that she went to Milton to see the dentist, but he wasn’t there (see the May 6 entry); and she’s been complaining on and off about a toothache since mid-April (see April 11, [...]

  3. [...] again complained about it on April 15 and April 18. She then tried to visit the dentist in Milton on May 6 and again May 13 but he wasn’t in his office when she got [...]

  4. [...] believe that several films were typically shown during each show. In a post last year I included an May 5, 1911 advertisement for the Bijou Dream Theatre in nearby Milton. It described the four silent films that were being shown on that date. [...]

  5. [...] one with a business advertisement on it. The Milton Historical Society has an old ruler from the Bijou Dream Theater. Grandma mentioned attending silent films at that theater several times in the diary, so maybe, [...]

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