Nickelodeon (movie theater)  

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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

The Nickelodeon (AE: nickel = 5ยข-coin, Greek: Odeion = roofed over theatre) was an early 20th century form of small, neighborhood movie theaters. Nickelodeons in competitive markets had a piano or organ, playing whatever music the pianist or organist knew that seemed appropriate to a scene (e.g. classic ragtime for a chase sequence, or what was called at the time "Eliza-crossing-the-ice" music during the scary moments).

The name "Nickelodeon" was coined by Harry Davis and John P. Harris, who opened their small, storefront theatre with that name on Smithfield Street in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in June 1905. Though theirs was not the first theatre in the world to specialize in presenting movies, Davis and Harris found such great success with their operation that their concept of a five cent theatre running movies continuously was soon imitated by hundreds of ambitious entrepreneurs, as was the name of the theatre itself.

Louis B. Mayer came of age just as the popularity of the nickelodeon was beginning to rise; he renovated the "Gem Theater" in Haverhill, Massachusetts, converting it into a nickelodeon he opened in 1907 as the "Orpheum Theater", and announced that it would be "the home of refined entertainment devoted to Miles Brothers moving pictures and illustrated songs", Nickelodeons declined as cities grew and industry consolidation led to larger, more comfortable, and better-appointed movie theaters.




Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Nickelodeon (movie theater)" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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