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T

he art of motion pictures grew into full maturity in the "silent era" before silent films were replaced by "talking pictures" in the late 1920s. The Jazz Singer's release in 1927 marked the first commercially successful sound film; silent films formed the majority of features produced in both 1927 and 1928. Thus the modern sound film era may be regarded as coming to dominance beginning in 1929.

In the 1920's movie revenues exploded and, independent promoters and movie studios raced to build the most lavish, elaborate, attractive movie palaces. As their name implies, movie palaces were advertised to "make the average citizen feel like royalty". 3 of the 6 movie palaces built on the Main Line still entertain local residents. The Bryn Mawr Film Institute began life as the Seville Theater. It was designed by Philadelphia architect William Harold Lee in 1926. Patrick J. Lawler spared no expense in 1927 when he built the Egyptian Theatre in Bala Cynwyd. Harry Fried of Fried Enterprises, engaged William Howard Lee, in 1928 or 1929, to build the Anthony Wayne Theater in Wayne.

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