In life, there are many things we do by default that we really never stop to ask why we do them because they seem convenient and just right. One of such things is eating popcorn at the cinemas. For a long time, popcorn has been associated with “television time”. This is because this delicious and savoury snack has been the default snack at the cinemas from time immemorial. But how did this become the norm?
Popcorn had already become a popular commodity by the mid 1800s. With the invention of the steam-powered popcorn maker, street vendors were able to easily make it and sell it at fairs, circuses and carnivals. Yet, popcorn was forbidden at one place – the cinema. Cinemas wanted nothing to do with this crunchy, salty snack
They were more interested in living up to the standard of what a typical theatre would look like.This meant fancy chairs and carpets, hence the prohibition of a snacks such as popcorn that would be littered all around by customers. Moreover, silent films were the only kind of pictures shown at cinema when they first came out. This was considered an art form for only the enlightened and wealthy who could read what was written on the screen.
In 1927, with the invention of movies with sound, cinemas began opening their doors to the common people. Everyone could now go to the cinemas and they could bring their snacks along with them. In no time, street vendors quickly jumped on this opportunity and began selling their popcorn outside the cinemas. Popcorn was easy to make and it was affordable to everyone.
In time, cinema owners didn’t miss this opportunity either as they began selling popcorn themselves. They drove the street vendors from their premises and made popcorn the primary snacks for customers at the cinemas. To them, it was the ideal snack because it is cheap, easy to make, and has an aromatic smell. The audience, on the other hand, saw it as the perfect snack to eat while watching movies because it wasn’t distracting.
Since then, popcorn has been synonymous with cinemas and doesn’t seem to be going away anytime soon.Can you imagine going to the movies without getting a pack of popcorn?