In the early 20th century, political parties discovered a new way to reach a large captive audience of potential voters – the cinema.
Before the start of the advertised feature, political advertisements were projected on the screen using glass slides.They could be produced in-house by cinema owners or outsourced; they could be handwritten (see Gallery 1: slide 1) or professionally printed (see Gallery 1: slide 2).
The earliest political glass cinema slide in the NFSA collection dates to c1917 and is for Nationalist Party member, Dr Robert Stopford (image right). The slide is simple in its approach, with a black-and-white profile of Dr Stopford, and mention of his party and the key issues he stood for. There are no bright colours or slogans to distract. Rather, Dr Stopford relied on his high profile in the community, specifically his humanitarian work promoting child and maternal health, running a clinic for impoverished children and advocating for the introduction of a state medical service.