The present research puts forward the main results of a large survey on cinema-going behavior, derived from 1785 personal interviews, taken of a representative sample of people who were born in 1934 or before. Thus, the results are referred to four different periods: firstly, 1931-1936 (Second Spanish Republic); secondly, 1936-1939 (Spanish Civil War); and thirdly, two stages within the Franquist period (also called either Franquism or Franco=s regime): on the one hand, 1940-1960 (the boom of the cinema-attendance in Spain, during the first Franquism), and on the other hand, 1961-1982 (the beginning of the crisis in cinema, during the last Franquism and the Transition years). During all these years, films are the most popular form of entertainment in Spain. The main interest of this research is rooted in its size and chronological order (1931-1982), the novelty of the subject, and the use of uncommon data collection techniques in historical studies, which made it possible to obtain previously unknown material about the social history of cinema in Spain. The aim was to study the Spanish popular memory on cinema-attendance (Sorlin, 1977: 115), in order to highlight the cinema-going behaviour in daily leisure routine in Spain, a matter scarcely documented at the present (Paz, 2003).
Although the research has a historical nature, it applies sociological procedures to avoid the lack of other sources. In this sense, interviewing people gave us the opportunity to get precious information, in present tense, about memories of a past behavior. In any case, our goal was to reconstruct an aspect of the memory of those polled. Therefore, what matters here is not the precise coincidence of their memories and the reality, but to point out which aspects regarding their leisure habits remain fixed in their memory. Of course, it is understood that >going to the cinema= in those days (1931-1982) was a very different experience from nowadays. We consider that recovering this memory, and explaining it, is a challenging task for a communication historian.