Forgotten Movie Theater Pioneer: Alexander Pantages & Immigrant Hollywood
"Forgotten Movie Theater Pioneer: Alexander Pantages & Immigrant Hollywood", authored by Lagos G. Taso. Published in the Journal of Modern Hellenism 32 (2016): 96-114
Here is an excerpt from the article:
"Alexander Pantages was an unlikely motion picture theater pioneer and mogul. Born on the Greek island of Andros sometime between 1867 and 1875, Pantages’s meteoric rise in the motion picture exhibition business beginning in 1902 seems like a fairy-tale. Then suddenly in 1929 it all crashed down when he was accused of sexually assaulting a seventeen-year-old dancer. In between Pantages established his business with a keen focus on customer satisfaction, attention to detail, and building grand, ornate theaters. He was, by all accounts, one of the greatest film theater owners in the country at the time, a true film theater pioneer, yet today, he is hardly remembered by most Americans, including Greek Americans.
Pantages as an historical figure presents many difficulties. As a functioning illiterate, he left few papers behind which were likely written by others. Records of the great theatrical company he built single handedly were not kept. He appears to have had little interest in documenting his career, or any sense of history to warrant saving his papers. Facts become a matter of conjecture in his world; he was once a master of publicity and a grand mythologizer. Despite these challenges, enough material exists to put together a rather hazy but significant account of his extraordinary contribution to the motion picture theater business. "
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