(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Popcorn

“He, indeed, who gave fewest pledges to Fortune, has yet suffered her heaviest visitations”*…

As Zachary Crockett explains, taking the kids to a baseball game, a movie, or Disneyland is a bigger financial commitment than it used to be for middle-class families… a much bigger commitment…

In the 1950s and ’60s — the so-called Golden Age of American capitalism — family outings were within the realm of affordability for most median income earners. Many blue-collar workers could afford new homes and cars and still take their kids to Disneyland.

Despite rising wages, many of those same activities are now out of reach for everyday Americans.

The Hustle analyzed the cost of three family activities in 1960 vs. 2022:

1. A baseball game

2. A movie at a theater

3. A one-day Disneyland visit

We found that these family outings have increased in cost at 2-3x the rate of inflation — and that, in order to afford them, today’s American families have to work up to 2x as many hours as they did 60 years ago…

The painful details at: “America’s favorite family outings are increasingly out of reach,” from @zzcrockett in @TheHustle.

* John Maynard Keynes


As we rethink our plans, we might recall that it was on this date in 1951 that Disney’s Alice in Wonderland had its American premiere (in New York, two days after premiering in London). The average price of a movie ticket that year was $0.47 (or $4.53, adjusted for inflation); popcorn was 5-10 cents per bag.


Written by (Roughly) Daily

July 28, 2022 at 1:00 am

“The Food of the Gods”*…




From Beyond Slow Motion, “Popcorn Popping (100,000 Frames Per Second)


* both the title of an H.G. Wells novel and a description of the subject of today’s post.


As we reach for the salt, we might spare a thought for Paul Sabatier; he died on this date in 1941.  An organic chemist, he was instrumental in creating the process of hydrogenation, which allowed the development of margarine, hydrogenated oil, and synthetic methanol– two of the three of which frequently figure into the preparation and consumption of popcorn.  Sabatier’s work earned him the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1912.

200px-Paul_Sabatier source


Extra Large, With Butter…


Movie theater popcorn is a concession stand staple whose scent has spawned marketing ploys and copycat recipes, but movie theaters haven’t always been saturated with the tempting smell of salt and butter. The history of popcorn is vast, and it intersects with movies in the relatively recent past–a symbiosis of taste and place created to save the fledgling movie theater industry from near collapse during the Great Depression…

Read the whole story– which starts 8.000 years ago– in “Why Do We Eat Popcorn at the Movies?

email readers click here for video


As we politely suggest that our companions acquire their own buckets, we might recall that it was on this date in 1985 that the first Blockbuster store opened in Dallas, Texas with 8,000 tapes (of 6,500 titles).  The founder, David Cook, was in the oil business; but as his company floundered, he took his wife’s advice and diversified into home entertainment rentals.  Two years (and three more stores) later, he sold part of the business to a group of investors that included Wayne Huizenga, founder of Waste Management, Inc., the world’s biggest garbage disposal company; Huizenga took control and oversaw the company’s rapid expansion.

It’s probably no coincidence that Cook’s success followed closely on the heels of the 1984 introduction of microwave popcorn.  (In fact, Pillsbury had introduced microwave popcorn in 1981– but in a form that required the unpopped bags to be frozen before use.  In 1984, an engineer on that project, James Watkins, who’d left the company, figured out how to make the popcorn and oils shelf stable.  He patented his improvement and marketed it as Act II in 1984.)


Written by (Roughly) Daily

October 19, 2013 at 1:01 am

Be deliberate in all things…


Laughing Squid reports:

For ECAL’s “Low-Tech Factory” exhibition, design students Laurent Beirnaert, Pierre Bouvier and Paul Tubiana created Oncle Sam, a popcorn machine that pops just one kernel at a time. At the final stages of the process, this contraption even butters and salts the single piece of popcorn that was produced. Watch this video to see the machine in action.


As we turn up the heat, we might pause to send amusing birthday greetings to Al Christie; he was born on this date in 1881.  An early motion picture director, producer, screenwriter and studio head,  Christie ran the first ever movie studio to be built in Hollywood
(Nestor Studios, opened in 1911) and is credited with having produced the first film comedies there.  In all, he produced more than 700 films before retiring in 1942.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 24, 2012 at 1:01 am

Don’t blink!…

source: PBS

The cost of attending a movie, insofar as filmgoers are concerned, is about $4 per hour, or just over a tenth of a cent per second… not including popcorn, of course.

But from the studio’s perspective the cost equation is materially more complicated:  budgets vary, as do run times; but at least the studios have some control over those.  Revenues vary widely too– and entirely at the whim of us, the moviegoers.

The good folks at Sharenator have done the arithmetic to let us cut through this complexity.  Bottom line, “blink for a moment and BAM! You’ve just missed thousands of dollars worth of material.”

source: Sharenator (click to see larger images)

As we debate refilling our extra-large cartons, we might send sultry birthday sentiments to Greta Garbo, who was born this date in 1905, and who insisted late in her life, “I never said, ‘I want to be alone.’ I only said, ‘I want to be left alone.’ There is a whole world of difference.”

Ms. Garbo

(And we might choose our words carefully, as this is also the birthday (1709) of lexicographer, wit– and trenchant observer– Dr. Samuel Johnson, who noted that “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.”)

Dr. Johnson (by Joshua Reynolds)

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

September 18, 2009 at 8:32 pm

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