Nickelodeon (cinema)

nickelodeon (in English  :  Nickelodeon ) was a kind of small theater district at the beginning of xx th  century in North America . The name comes from the American ”  nickel  ” and the Greek ”  odéon  “, which respectively designate the room of 5 cents (the one that the spectators had to slip in a tourniquet to access the room), and a building intended to listen to the music. Nickelodeons are considered the first network of cinemas, after that ofParlors Kinetoscope of Thomas Edison to higher input costs (a 25-cent coin, called the “quarter”) 1 .

The first nickelodeon appeared in November 1905, when contractor John Harris traveled to Pittsburgh to negotiate a commercial space. He covets an old shop on Smintfield Street, a busy neighborhood. After having obtained a significant fall in rent, and having arranged the interior, he has the idea of ​​selling movie tickets at the price of 5 cents, the smallest American coin (called “nickel”). The success was there as his showroom was full from 8  am to midnight, which pushed John Harris and his partner Harry Davis, to open other nickelodeons. This idea will be taken up under other names by various competitors 2 .

The nickelodeons located in areas of strong competition included a piano or an organ , for a musician appropriately accompanies projected dummies (for example the classic ragtime for a chase , or what was called the time the music ”  Eliza-crossing-the-ice  ” during the scenes to thrill). Sessions were usually 15 minutes in the early days of nickelodons, usually consisting of 3 or 4 short films 2 .

Those who would become the largest American producers at the head of the majors were emigrants from Europe, most of them Jewish. The long tails at the nickelodeon entrances persuaded them to invest in this highly profitable field. Thus, German emigrant Carl Laemmle was a modest worker in the clothing industry, which founded Universal . William Fox , a former dyer who became a clown after a bankruptcy, created what would become Twentieth Century Fox . Marcus Loew , after several odd jobs, devoted his savings to the purchase of a Penny Arcade (shop of various games of British origin at the entry price of apenny ) that he transformed into nickelodeon and then created a company that would become Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer . The four Warner brothers, for their part, repaired bicycles, founded the powerful Warner Bros. thanks to the profits earned in the nickelodeons (a single month of operation, despite the low cost of entry, allowed to open a new room). Adolph Zukor was a former rabbit fur trader and a fur trader after his marriage to a Hungarian compatriot. He was at the origin of Paramount with Jesse L. Lasky 3 .

Notes and references

  1. ↑ ( in ) Charles Musser  (in) , History of the American Cinema , Vol.  1: The Emergence of Cinema, The American Screen to 1907 ,, 613  p. ( ISBN  0-684-18413-3 ) , p.  81-89.
  2. ↑ a and b Vincent Mirabel , The history of cinema for Dummies , First Editions,, 509  p. ( ISBN  978-2-7540-0609-5 ) , p.  90.
  3. ↑ Georges Sadoul , history of world cinema from its origins to today , Paris, Flammarion,, 719  p. p.  63.

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