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How Popcorn Evolved From a Contraband Snack Into a Movie Theater Mainstay

Mental Floss logo Mental Floss 6/19/2017 Kirstin Fawcett
How Popcorn Evolved From a Contraband Snack Into a Movie Theater Mainstay © iStock How Popcorn Evolved From a Contraband Snack Into a Movie Theater Mainstay

Today, it’s nearly impossible to imagine movie theaters without popcorn stands, but once upon a time, the crunchy kernels were considered a contraband snack. Going to the cinema was a fancy affair before the Great Depression. However, well-heeled theatergoers couldn’t resist the smell of popcorn sold by street vendors outside theaters, and they smuggled their treats inside. This clandestine practice ended as movies gained sound and became a cheap public form of entertainment. Learn more about how popcorn became a movie theater mainstay by watching Great Big Story’s video below.

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