Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Did small pox kill The Canary Murder Case?

I come across a lot of unusual things while researching Louise Brooks and her films. Here is one more example.

In the same June, 1929 issue of the North Sacramento Journal  that carried an advertisement for a local showing of The Canary Murder Case at the Del Paso theater, the newspaper also ran an informational advertisement concerning a supposed small pox infestation at the same theater. Here is that advertisement.


According to Wikipedia, "Transmission of smallpox occurs through inhalation of airborne variola virus, usually droplets expressed from the oral, nasal, or pharyngeal mucosa of an infected person. It is transmitted from one person to another primarily through prolonged face-to-face contact with an infected person, usually within a distance of 6 feet, but can also be spread through direct contact with infected bodily fluids or contaminated objects (fomites) such as bedding or clothing. Rarely, smallpox has been spread by virus carried in the air in enclosed settings such as buildings, buses, and trains."

And apparently, it was believed by some back in 1929 that one could become infected by sitting in a theater seat.

I didn't notice any later articles mentioning that people stayed away from the Del Paso and its June 7-8 screening of The Canary Murder Case, which starred William Powell and Louise Brooks. But, if the Del Paso was concerned enough to place a newspaper advertisement, I could imagine many individuals did not go the movies at a certain theater in north Sacramento in 1929. [The Del Paso theater, located at 2120 Del Paso Blvd, closed at some later date. Curiously, there is no Cinema Treasures webpage devote to it.]

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