Thomas L. Tally
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Thomas L. Tally

Thomas Lincoln Tally
Thomas L. Tally (1915)
DiedNovember 24, 1945 (aged 83–84)
United States
OccupationFilm producer, businessman
Mary A.[1][2]
ChildrenSeymour Tally (1889-1976)[3]

Thomas Lincoln Tally (1861 - November 24, 1945)[4] on or near April 16, 1902, opened the Electric Theatre in Los Angeles, the first movie theatre in that city and the first movie theater in California known to have been built from the ground up inside a larger building on the ground floor. (Photographs exist but rights are not available).

With James Dixon Williams he founded First National Pictures.[5][6] He was the first to show a color movie in Los Angeles in 1912, and he was the first to sign Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford to a movie contract.[1]


  • Tally v. Ganahl, 151 California Supreme Court 418 (1907)


  1. ^ The term "Movie Palace" is improperly applied here. A true "movie palace" held thousands of patrons. The Mark-Strand Theatre (New York City, 1914) is generally recognized as the world's first true purpose-built movie palace


  1. ^ a b c "Thomas L. Tally, Film Pioneer, Dies. Producer First Signed Mary Pickford, Chaplin. A Founder of First National Pictures". The New York Times. November 25, 1945.
  2. ^ 1910 US Census
  3. ^ California Death Index; Seymour Tally; May 27, 1976; Los Angeles; August 29, 1889; Texas
  4. ^ Associated Press, "Movie Pioneer Dies", The San Bernardino Daily Sun, San Bernardino, California, Saturday November 24, 1945, Volume 52, page 2.
  5. ^ "Celebrating July 2 - What If...; 10 Days That Changed History". The New York Times. July 2, 2006. "Then, in spring 1902, Thomas L. Tally opened his Electric Theater in Los Angeles, a radical new venture devoted to movies and other high-tech devices of the era, like audio recordings. "Tally was the first person to offer a modern multimedia entertainment experience to the American public," says the film historian Marc Wanamaker. "Before long, his successful movie palace[a] produced imitators nationally, which would become known as nickelodeons. America's love affair with the moving image - from the silver screen to YouTube - would endure after all.
  6. ^ "First Film House is Victim of Time. Used Clothing Store Stands on Its Unmarked Site". The New York Times. April 17, 1962. Los Angeles, April 17, 1962 One of the historic sites of the movie industry has been obliterated by time, squalor and indifference.

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