Even Further Antedating of "Movie"

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Sun Dec 2 17:18:50 UTC 2007

On Dec 2, 2007 9:47 AM, Laurence Horn <laurence.horn at yale.edu> wrote:
> Most of the early cites are either plural generics (as here),
> ordinary plurals, or singular attributives (adjectives or nominal
> modifiers, as in "movie pictures").  It would be interesting to track
> down the first count noun "movie", as in "a movie" tout court.

Checking the databases for newspaper headlines, I only found "a movie"
as a count noun starting in 1913:

Columbus (Ga.) Daily Enquirer, Mar. 23, 1913, p. 6
See Yourself in a "Movie".
Kansas City (Mo.) Star, Apr. 20, 1913, p. 10
A "Movie" at 59th Street.
Belleville (Ill.) News-Democrat, Aug. 5, 1913, p. 8
Thought Window Was a "Movie."
Fort Worth (Tex.) Star-Telegram, Aug. 6, 1913, p. 6
The Making of a Movie.
Overland Monthly, San Francisco, Aug. 1913, p. 1
The Mule as a "Movie" of the Western Trails.
Chicago Daily Tribune, Sep. 15, 1913. p. 3
"Tama, the Woman Sleuth," a "Movie" in Real Life.

Interesting that these all appear outside of the original mid-Atlantic
locus of "movie". In East Coast papers, count nouns were typically
compounds: "movie show", "movie film", "movie picture", etc.

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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