For more than a century, Manitobans have gathered in theatres across the province to thrill to the magic of motion pictures. In larger centres, movie houses ranged from luxurious “picture palaces” to convenient neighbourhood cinemas. Most towns and villages, some with only a few hundred residents, had their own theatres or commandeered community halls that beckoned farm families to town on Saturday evenings. Beginning in the 1950s, drive-in theatres dotted the prairie and provided steamy-windowed memories that have outlived the sometimes-precarious screens. Silver Screens on the Prairie is a tribute to those theatres and what they have meant to generations of Manitobans.
Drawing on the memories of dozens of owners, staff members and theatre-goers, this book explores the enchantment of “going to the show” and the joys and challenges of being an exhibitor from the early days of motion pictures until the present time. Join Russ Gourluck in an enthralling expedition across the province and through the decades in celebrating movie houses of all kinds – from Winnipeg’s palatial Capitol and Metropolitan to Clear Lake’s distinctive log-cabin Park Theatre; from the unique fourth-generation Lido in The Pas to Brandon’s cherished Strand; from flickering silent movies screened by itinerant projectionists in darkened dance halls to today’s eye-tingling digital 3-D in stadium-seated multiplexes.
“The richness of this social history is what Gourluck captures in his book.”
– Prairie Fire Press