Before came the blight, there was the bright. The bright that shone from the dozens of neon signages that illuminated the cityscape which was downtown Manila. For the people who lived in those bygone days, those neon signs were a form of welcome, a respite from those day-to-day struggles or whatever issue of the day that was bothering them.
from Flickr: Rizal Avenue in the 1950s. note some of the movie theaters that used to stand there
The bright lights would lead them right into a movie theater where they can enjoy the latest movie released in town. Or it could be a comedy act or some performer who will be having a show for that day. Yup, some of those theaters serve a dual purpose as well.
From the early 20th century up until the 1970’s, downtown Manila was home to dozens of movie theaters that made it become the entertainment hub of sorts of the city. Unlike what it is today, each movie theater has something different to offer in an effort to stand out and beat the competition, so to speak. Some would hire the best architects of the day like Juan Nakpil or Pablo Antonio to design their theaters. Some would make arrangements to make their theater become the exclusive venue for movie studios, both local and foreign, to show their films. One can imagine how vibrant and cut-throat the business was back in the day. Continue reading