Tonight at O’Brien’s
Savvy theatre operators were quick to recognise the power of the local when it came to filling the house. Many cinemas employed cameramen to record local events, rapidly processed the films, which were then on the cinema screen within days – and people flocked to see themselves.
In this case O’Brien’s Empire Theatre, Dunedin’s De Luxe Picture House, filmed the 1921 Anzac Day Parade (25 April) and the unveiling of the North East Valley Memorial. By 28 April the Otago Daily Times carried the advertisement “Special Announcement Re Anzac Day. Pictures of the unveiling, the wreaths, the children, the parade of Anzacs, the councillors and the crowds etc would be shown that night at O’Brien’s”.
This was a remarkable achievement when you consider the necessary developing, printing, processing, editing and delivery that had to occur to make these events happen so quickly.