The History of Movie Theater Popcorn

Popcorn wasn’t always the go-to snack in the movie theater. I know it is hard to believe, but if you think about it, who would want to here people chewing and drinking during a talkie? Oh yes, they used to call movies talkies too.

During the Mid-1800s, popcorn was widely popular at fairs and carnivals and sporting events. This popcorn was supplied by vendors with huge steam-powered popcorn makers. It was an easy food to preoccupy yourself with while watching a show. Movie theaters on the other hand hated the stinky, loud, messy snack. They didn’t introduce popcorn into the theaters until about 50 years later.

This is what is known as the dawn of the talkies. Talkies were pictures that talked! Soon changed to moving pictures and eventually shortened to movies! Before the dawn of the talkies, the theater was a sophisticated place, where only the folk who were literate and well educated would understand the plays. An elegant building that was crystal clean and filled with glorious red velvet and gold leaf décor. No place for stinky, crunchy, sticky, popcorn! That was until about 1929 when America entered The Great Depression, and everyone wanted a different reality. People didn’t want to believe this was the world they were living in. They needed cheap entertainment that would keep their minds off the real problems they were up against.

Movies eventually changed from a sophisticated activity to something everyone could do, thus resulting in lots of popcorn sales! This was because the popcorn vendors at the games and carnivals noticed the cinemas becoming busier. Eventually the vendors set up shop on the street just outside the theater and would sell the movie goers popcorn before they entered.

This only lasted a short period until the theaters stepped up their game and began serving popcorn. They realized they couldn’t live without it during the Great Depression. And that is the story of how popcorn became a traditional movie theater snack!


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