|Bing Crosby and Marjorie Reynolds in Holiday Inn, 1942|
I was startled when I noticed that the Christmas tree in this scene was lit by actual CANDLES. In 1942? Didn't they have electric Christmas tree lights by then?
|First Electrified Christmas Tree, 1882|
Still, Holiday Inn was made in 1942, and it was a big Hollywood studio production -- surely they could afford electric lights for their sets, right? So here's the really interesting part, the part I knew but had forgotten: The introduction of electricity was confined to urban areas for decades, creating huge disparity between the lifestyles of city dwellers versus the millions of Americans who lived in rural areas. This was because the power companies paid to create the infrastructure necessary for providing electricity, and it just didn't make good business sense to spend a lot of money running wiring to rural areas that were sparsely populated, with so many fewer potential customers. It wasn't until after World War II that the majority of Americans had electrical power in their homes -- so, in 1942, the Christmas Trees in "rural Connecticut" absolutely would have been lit by candles, because the farm-turned-inn and the entire town of Midville, Connecticut would have still been without electricity at that time.
If you're interested in reading more about the history of electric Christmas lights, I found the most complete history here from the NECA National Electrical Contractors Association.
Merry Christmas, everyone!
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