Modern Marvel Co.

During the last two decades of the nineteenth century, Thomas James West had been a lantern lecturer touring in Scotland. In the winter holiday season of 1897-8 he was engaged by the Edinburgh-based Modern Marvel Company as a lecturer for their Hogmanay show at the Queen Street Hall, which included moving pictures. After the Hogmanay season, West advertised his availability for private cinematograph entertainments. The holiday show stayed for longer each year, and in early 1900, after more than five weeks at the Queen Street Hall, West had to find other local venues in order to exploit his new, very popular Boer war films. After a few more weeks at the Freemasonsí Hall, West presented his show as a variety turn at the Pavilion theatre. At some points, West ran a parallel show in other parts of the city, showing the same films. At the end of the 1902 Hogmanay season, T.J. West took the Modern Marvel show on a two-month tour of central and south-east Scotland. The tour took in towns of very different sizes, staying for two or three nights in the larger ones such as Falkirk and Dalkeith. From the autumn season of 1902, West ran a four-week-long show at the YMCA hall in Bournemouth. This show became a very prestigious feature in the relatively wealthy town, and West went on to establish hugely successful ventures in Australia and New Zealand. West would go on to control exhibition venues in different continents.

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