Typical entertainment in the early 1900's
In the late 1800's and first half of the 20th century the ways in which people found entertainment changed dramatically. At first entertainment was either that which could be produced locally by churches, schools, or traveling shows, often amateur productions of short plays. For the more affluent, the big city offered theater and opera, as well as orchestras. These venues were out of the financial reach of the working class, and they had to find their own amusements.
After 1907 the motion picture show started to become more popular and small theaters showing short, silent films accompanied by a phonograph started to spring up in small towns. This was the first true mass entertainment, affordable to even the common person.
Through the 1900's silent movies gave way to "talkies"; newspapers were set aside to listen the the latest on the "wireless"; and the radio took a back seat to television. The availability of the automobile allowed people to travel and to find new ways to entertain themselves. Amusement parks, beaches, resorts and more were within the actual reach of more people.
La Grange, IL, typified much of this change with on major exception - it had been founded as, and remained a staunchly temperant, anti-saloon village. The story of the development of entertainment in the village, while mirroring that of surrounding communities, is also one of a constant battle against intoxicating beverages, one which the village fought over and over.
Blind pigs were saloons, not unlike the speakeasies of the roaring 20's, with one exception. To get around laws which prohibited the sale of liquor, the business would advertise that they had a show of some type - possibly a real blind pig. For a fee of 25¢ one could see the show - and also, it just so happened - get a glass of beer or a shot of whiskey for free.
Writer and Photographer
The ongoing war against alcohol.
Campaigning against showing movies on Sunday.
The battle to keep moving pictures out of the village.