When Moviegoers Started Watching Films From the Beginning.

Throughout the classical Hollywood era, moviegoers dropped in on a film screening whenever they felt like it, heedless of the progress of the narrative. In the usual formulation, a couple go to the movies, enter midway into the feature film, sit through to the end of the movie, watch the newsreel, cartoon, and comedy short at the top of the program, and then sit through the feature film until they recognize the scene they walked in on. At this point, one moviegoer whispers to their partner, “This is where we came in,” and they exit the theater.

This is how I remember watching when I was a little boy being brought to the movies by my parents in the 1960s.

Alfred Hitchcock changed the national moviegoing habits with the release of “Psycho” in 1960. Hitchcock was a brilliant publicist for his own products, and a big publicity gimmick for “Psycho” was the demand that movie theater owners bar the doors and refuse to allow new audience members in after the movie began. Guards were stationed at the door.

Mitch W @MitchW