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#TBT: Coke Goes to the Movies

By:  Emily Bucherati Sep 19, 2013
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Theda Bara program card

This silent movie program card from a Coca-Cola bottler, featuring actress Theda Bara, dates to 1915. The inside of the card lists movies playing at the time.

What's a trip to the theater without an ice-cold Coca-Cola? For this week's Throwback Thursday (#TBT), we're taking a look back at Coke's decades-long relationship with the movies, from silent films of the 1910s to the international film festivals of today. And when you're done checking out our classic photos here, read about Coke's ownership of Columbia Pictures, or head on over to our Food section for five delicious homemade popcorn recipes!


Refreshment Through the Years still

In 1939, Coke produced its own documentary film, "Refreshment Through the Years," which was shown worldwide. This still comes from the movie's reenactment of John Pemberton's invention of Coca-Cola.

Roxy Theater concessions
This is the newly-installed refreshment counter in the NYC Roxy Theater lobby in 1947. The counter was added as part of a campaign by the National Theaters Amusement circuit to put either concession counters or Coca-Cola vending machines in each of its theaters. Today, Coke remains a classic part of theater concessions - with many theaters now offering Freestyle Machines too
Coke neon spectacular outside Loew's Theater

This photo from 1949 shows the iconic Coca-Cola neon spectacular outside the Loew's Grand Theater, an Atlanta landmark most famous as the site of the Gone With the Wind premiere. The spectacular hung here from 1948 to 1981, and in 2003 returned to downtown Atlanta to much fanfare. Read more about the building of the spectacular, its history, and its return here.

Hilltop ad film reel

This is one of the film reels that housed the classic "Hilltop" commercial in 1971. Better known as "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke," the ad was an instant sensation, leading to a radio edit of the song that became a Top 10 pop hit. Watch the commercial and learn about its creation here.

Japanese concessions

These days, Coke is sold at movie theater concessions worldwide. This stand might look familiar, perhaps one in a suburban mall theater anywhere in the U.S. - but it's actually in Japan! Specifically, this is the Japan Cinema during the Tokyo International Film Festival, sponsored by the Coca-Cola Japan Co.

Japan remains a center of Coca-Cola innovations, whether it's an "impossible" vending machine created in response to the 2011 earthquake, or the introduction of the world's first hot sparkling beverage.