Trivia

Hard

Which Of These Movie Theater Staples Was Originally Banned In Early Movie Theaters?

Hot Dogs
Candy
Popcorn
Soda
A concession stand popcorn machine with fresh popcorn.
Tim Evanson/Flickr

Answer: Popcorn

Aside from a picture of a movie projector or a reel of film, there is no more iconic a symbol for the movie theater than a big bucket of popcorn. Popcorn is so firmly entwined with the experience of going to see the movies, in fact, that it’s almost unbelievable the snack was originally banned from movie theaters.

In the early days of the cinema, movie theaters were opulent affairs that sought to mimic the grand designs and classiness of actual theaters, complete with plush seats, beautiful carpeting, and intricate detailing inside. Theater owners didn’t want popcorn in their theaters both because they saw it as a low-brow snack (as it was closely associated with carnivals and other outdoor events), but also because they didn’t want the mess of the popcorn all over their beautiful theaters.

Eventually, however, due largely to economic pressures (like the Great Depression that severely curtailed people’s recreation budgets) and, later, rationing pressure (sugar rationing during World War II made it difficult to get adequate candy for concessions), the previously maligned snack wormed its way into concession stands and has remained a staple of the movie experience ever since.

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