The Motion Picture Chums series follows a group of young men who run movie theaters in New York and New Jersey. While other moving picture series from the Stratemeyer Syndicate involved adventure behind the camera (Moving Picture Boys) and in front of the camera (Moving Picture Girls), this series follows the adventures of running a business based on the films the others produce.
Written under the Victor Appleton pen name, the series follows three friends and their attempts to run their business. Here are the first lines of the first volume (of seven volumes) which sets it up pretty clearly:
“Boys, this is just the spot we are looking for!”
“Yes, I am sure a good photo playhouse on this boardwalk would pay.”
It was Frank Durham who made the first declaration and his chum and young partner, Randy Powell, who echoed it. Both looked like lads in business earnestly looking for something they wanted, and determined to find it. Then the third member of the little group glanced where his companions were gazing. He was Pepperill Smith, and he burst forth in his enthusiastic way:
“The very thing!”
The three chums had arrived at Seaside Park only that morning. Their home was at Fairlands, one hundred and fifty miles west. Everything was new to them and there was certainly enough variety, excitement and commotion to satisfy 2any lively lad. They had, however, come for something else than pleasure. They had a distinct purpose in view, and Frank’s remarks brought it up.
Seaside Park was a very popular ocean resort. It was a trim little town with a normal population of less than three thousand souls. In the summer season, however, it provided for over ten times that number. A substantial boardwalk fronted the beach where people bathed, lined with stores, booths, and curio and souvenir tents. There were several restaurants for the convenience of those who had run down from the big cities to take a day’s enjoyment and did not care to stay at the pretentious hotels.
The three friends had made for this part of the resort as soon as they had arrived. As they had strolled down the boardwalk Frank had studiously observed the general layout and the points where the pleasure-seekers most congregated. Randy was quite as much interested in peering in at the windows of the few buildings bearing “To Rent” signs. Pep made a deliberate stop wherever a show place attracted his attention. Now all three had halted in front of an unoccupied building and were looking it over critically.
“I say, fellows,” observed Frank, “this is worth looking into.”3
“It’s certainly a fine location,” added Randy.
“Just made for us,” piped the exuberant Pep.