Beach Movies

Surf Movie Screen, Wrightsville Beach

I found this picture in a railroad schedule from 1925. It’s kind of hard to tell how this worked, but I’m guessing that when it came time to watch the movie, people gathered on the embankment and saw the film to the accompaniment of the crashing waves. Or maybe it was more like a watery drive-in (a float-in?) at high tide, with viewers rowing up or simply paddling in on their surfboards. It sounds wonderfully dramatic, but I would imagine that with all of the noise and the motion it would be a little hard to follow the story. It could be that there was a reason why this was the world’s only one.

4 thoughts on “Beach Movies”

  1. You can find more images of this outdoor movie screen on the website of the Local History and Special Collections Department, New Hanover County Public Library. The Louis T. Moore Collection (available online) has several nice images of the screen with individuals sitting in benches at the pavilion–in particular, see the following photographs: Numbers 342 and 355.

    The URL for the Louis T. Moore Collection is:

  2. One question and two observations:

    1. Does the photograph depict the original “Beach Blanket Bingo”?

    2. No doubt the distributors sent the Wrightsville Beach projectionist the “prints of tides.”

    3. And the likely reason for such a large crowd gathered around the projection screen? Pier pressure.

  3. The photo was taken by Louis T. Moore, secretary of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. It is cropped from a larger panoramic photo, one of the 975 photographs Moore took of Wilmington and the surrounding area in the 1920s and 1930s. The movie screen was situated just inside the waves and faced Lumina, Wrightsville Beach’s famous pavillion. Bleacher style seats on the beach side of Lumina afforded a good view of the silent films.

  4. Because the Photo is black and white you tend to think of the era as being black and white or colourless but if you imagine a beautiful sunny day – blue skies and blue sea I guess it would have been an exhilirating experience for the Beach cinema goers. Love it!

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