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Reading Response to "Movies, Gender, and the Making of Fans, 1910-1935" from Major Problems in American Popular Culture

Ara is a Journalism graduate from California State University Northridge who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

What is the Objective in This Article?

What follows is a response to a few essays about the making of movies, gender, and the attraction of audiences to those movies from 1910 to 1935. Note: this is not a book review but it is a chapter response to the chapter titled “Movies, Gender, and the Making of Fans, 1910-1935.” It is Chapter 6 from the book called Major Problems in American Popular Culture. This reading response will consist of a response to a primary source followed by a compare and contrast between two major essays. These kinds of essays should help college students develop better critical thinking and analysis, two skills that will be very useful in the work world.

A Photo of Actress Ingrid Bergman That Symbolizes That Movie Fans Were Obsessed With Celebrities


Which Primary Source in the Chapter is Analyzed and Why?

I have chosen the primary source called “Chicago Daily Tribune Reports Positive Audience Reaction to Movie about Fans, 1924” from the book titled Major Problems in American Popular Culture. I chose this particular primary source because of the way that it emphasizes humor; it is written differently than the other primary sources that I have read so far. The characters are so funny that you will laugh with them is something that I am drawn to because I think that with laughter, it will make the day go by so much easier and life will seem more joyful and actually be more joyful. The last line of the primary source especially drew me in where it says “Is there a chance for me in the movies? What will I do to become a star? See you tomorrow,” (Tribune, 2012). This line caught my interest because it gives me inspiration to believe that anything is possible if we just be persistent and really work towards our goals and dreams.

A Movie Projector


What Are the Two Essays in This Chapter and What Are They About?

There are two essays to be analyzed. The first of these is called “Movies as Popular Culture” by Daniel Czitrom. The main narrative or story that he is trying to tell is that movies did not just become a new way for people to communicate but it also became the main and one of the most popular art forms of the 20th century. The other main narrative that this first essay points out is that the first audiences of these movies tended to be immigrants and the working class populations of the large cities. For instance, “the 1911 Russell Sage study of New York Theaters estimated movie audiences in that city to be 72 percent working class,” (Czitrom, 2012). The second essay called “Studying Movie Audiences” by Kathryn Fuller is an in depth-look at how popular culture reinforced the image of the movie fan as being feminine and addressed both male and female fans’ obsession with movie stars. The two essays are similar in the sense that they both address the importance of movies and films as one of the most important forms of popular culture in the 1910’s and 1920’s. They are also similar in the sense that they address the movie fan and what type of people would attend these movies, even though the idea that women would usually attend the movies was not always the case. The importance of movie going as an act of leisure is demonstrated when Czitrom says: ”The act of moviegoing became a powerful social ritual for millions, a new way of experiencing and defining the shared values of peer and family,” (page 176).

How Are the Two Main Essays Different From Each Other?

That brings us to how the two essays were different and which one I enjoyed more. So how were the two essays different? The first essay focuses on how the movie industry evolved, first from having vaudeville acts and then the nickelodeon boom and then after that, the feature films came along. The first essay also only briefly mentions what type of audiences typically went to see these movies which as we mentioned earlier were immigrants and working class people of the large cities. In comparison to the first essay, the second essay really describes how the term movie fan originated and how these fans wanted to become involved with the movies other than just being members of the audience. I liked the second essay more than the first because the second essay addresses the movie fans and how their need for leisure represented a way for them to be involved with the movie scene more so than just being a fan. I enjoy reading about leisure and so that’s why this second essay was better written.

How Are the Two Essays Related to the Primary Source Analyzed Earlier?

The two essays relate to the primary source that I chose because what are movies? They are a form of leisure which as we learned during lecture, this leisure was demanded by the working class and became a very important way for people to cope with their problems and anxieties, especially through humor.


Czitrom, D. (2012). Movies as Popular Culture. In E. Kathleen Franz and Susan Smulyan, Major Problems in American Popular Culture (p. 173). Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

Tribune, C. D. (2012). Chicago Daily Tribune Reports Positive Audience Reaction to Movie about Fans, 1924. In S. S. Kathleen Franz, Major Problems in American Popular Culture (p. 164). Boston: Wadsworth Cengage Learning.

© 2018 Ara Vahanian


Ara Vahanian (author) from LOS ANGELES on April 29, 2018:

Mary Norton: thank you for taking the time to read and comment on this comparison and contrast essay. I read this book because I took a course in American Popular Culture in the community college close to my home. You are right though when you say that immigrants in the big cities tended to go to these movies. Movies were seen as a source of leisure time for these people as the stress and demands of factory work really was too much for them. I hope you can get this book and that you will enjoy reading it. Thank you again for commenting.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on April 29, 2018:

I only wish I have read those essays in full to better understand your points here. It would be interesting to note the profiles of these immigrants were and the working population in big cities who are the major movie goers. You have piqued my interest that I will look for this book.

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