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History of Cinema 4 – Nickelodeons

The birth of cinema occurred in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania on June 19th, 1905. This inaugural stand alone cinema house was called a Nickelodeon by it’s creators, John Harris and Harry Davis. It is a combination of the Greek word for theatre, odion, and the cost of the show.

They would show multiple films a day, changing often. Each film was approximately 15-20 minutes long. Five cents gave you admittance to watch as long as you wished. Most patrons watched one or two shows and exited. The house could seat 96 people.

Interior of a Nickelodeon

They ran the theatre from 8am to midnight every day. They sold 450 admissions the first day open, 1500 the second day. There were upwards around 200 Nickelodeons within a year and 2000 within 2 years. The theatre was demolished after five years, being rebuilt larger and more extravagant. It was the standard used for almost a century for a movie house.

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