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Popcorn and the Movies

The "talking picture" solidified the presence of movie theaters in the U.S. in the late 1920’s. Many theatre owners refused to sell popcorn in their theaters because they felt it was too messy. Industrious vendors set up popcorn poppers or rented storefront space next to theatres and sold popcorn to patrons on their way into the theatre. Eventually, theatre owners began installing popcorn poppers inside their theatres; those who refused to sell popcorn quickly went out of business.

During the depression, 5 and 10 cent bags of popcorn were one of the few luxuries families could afford. Unlike other confections, popcorn sales increased throughout the Depression. A major reason for this increase was the introduction of popcorn into movie theatres. One businessman actually lowered the price of his theatre tickets and added a popcorn machine. He soon saw huge profits.