In another thread Cranky Laowai mentioned the Japanese use of benshi and the Taiwanese adoption of this custom (as cinema in Taiwan began under the Japanese). The benshi were narrators of silent films who provided entertaining commentary during the movie.
I found this fascinating article about Taiwanese cinema under the Japanese:
It mentions how Taiwanese benshi were educated entertainers who narrated in Taiwanese for local audiences, and also why this practice continued even after it died out in Japan itself. It also talks about the practice of ‘chaiend dramas’ (something I didn’t know about - stage plays with cinematic interludes where the actors are filmed on locations that can’t be recreated on screen and pop behind the screen to lend their voices to the projected films before popping back on stage to continue the live drama), and of Taiwanese opera.