"flicker" = 'movie' (1912) + "flicker alley" (1911), "flicker house" (1913)

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Mon Feb 11 22:11:06 UTC 2013

* "flicker" = 'movie' (OED2 1927)

1912 Oct 20 _Cleveland Leader_ [GenealogyBank] 6W/6 "Movies," "flickers,"
and all these thoughtless words do not help the business.
[quoting _The Universal Weekly_, a motion picture trade paper]

1912 Dec 22 _Cleveland Leader_ [GenealogyBank] S5/2 (head) Some big
"flickers" in picture business.

* flicker alley

1911 Oct 17 _Manchester (UK) Guardian_ [ProQuest] 14/1 The [London]
cinematograph trade is yet too young to have evolved a type, but it seemed
to me that the denizens of Flicker Alley (as they call this passage) all
have something characteristic that marks them off from ordinary men.

1912 Mar 9 _The Musical Standard_ [ProQuest] 148/2 The very severe
criticism appearing in the last issue from the pen of Mr. Douglas Donaldson
anent "Bioscope Music," and his somewhat "chesty" dilatation upon the
cinematograph theatre have prompted me, under the threatening wrath of the
potentates of "Flicker Alley," to enter the witness box for the
perpetrators of that "dangerous poison" -- picture music.

* flicker house

1913 June 5 _Life_ [ProQuest] 1128/1 For fiction also has its photo-plays.
And if you miss Dorothy or Jamie any time you're quite as likely to find
them up garret reading the one as down street at the flicker house watching
the other.


Ben Zimmer

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

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