During the days of late autumns from Napa County’s past, local residents generally preferred an indoor venue as the site for an evening’s entertainment. Also, the quantity and variety of those amusements of yesteryear parallel the amount and diversity of today’s events.
Following its headline of “Lecture On Stars,” a 1916 Napa Daily Journal article began, “We see about 3,000 stars with the naked eye, but the telescope reveals millions of stars, and besides patches of light which are seen to be made up of thousands of still more distant stars.”
The Journal continued, “The young people of the Baptist Church are going to give the Napa public a chance to know more of these heavenly bodies through the lecture of Prof. Earl G. Linsley of Mills College.” According to the article, the evening presentation would feature “stereopticon views” of the stars.
The Journal added, “The (event’s organizing) committee has received the following recommendation from Oakland of this entertainment. Professor Linsley brought to us reproductions of some of the world’s greatest and most wonderful astronomical photographs. Merely to gaze at them was a revelation to us all.”
A follow up article printed a few days later in the Journal was equally as complimentary to the speaker and his lecture. It said Linsley “was well informed and scientifically accurate yet entertaining” while presenting “an awe inspiring, rare and wondrous experience for all.”
On the same page of that 1916 Journal edition was a brief article announcing an event of potential interest to the global or religious-minded individuals. It said, “The Women’s Home and Foreign Missionary Societies of the Methodist Church will meet in regular session...at the home of Mrs. Maud Easterby, 1017 Oak Street.”
The announcement was also an open invitation to the general public interested in learning more about the organization and its endeavors as well as the scheduled presentation for that evening. The Journal added, “The topic for the programme will be ‘Korea’s United Church’ with Mrs. L.M. Turton as leader.”
A few days later, the Journal ran an advertisement for a local grocery store offering a pre-holiday special event for the local “foodies.” The business was Heflin & Tonascia, once located at 217 First Street in downtown Napa. The ad read, “Demonstrations and cooking school commencing to-day and for the rest of the week. Miss Crowley will be pleased to teach you the use of Burnett’s Extracts and Color Pastes in making puddings, desserts and novelties.” The ad also stated these demonstrations and cooking classes were scheduled during both day and evening hours.
For those wanting more traditional forms of entertainment, the Journal also printed reviews of both live and filmed theatrical productions. For example, it wrote a review of the two movies—“The Tigress” and “Guarding Old Glory”—playing at downtown Napa’s “Unique” movie theater. The Journal highly recommended viewing these “must see” films.
For those who had wanted to see a live theatrical performance, there were several possibilities. However, the Journal did offer its opinion and suggestion. It said, “The Bates-Watson Company opened a week’s engagement at the Napa Opera House last evening in the comedy-drama, ‘Jim, the Westerner,’ and made a most favorable impression.”
Following its positive review of each cast member, the Journal added, “Messrs. Bates and Watson have an excellent repertoire company. There should be crowded houses all week. Tonight a very funny farce comedy, ‘Whose Baby Are You?,’ will be presented.”
These events were just a handful of the many late-1916 local entertainment options for Napans to enjoy.