Automatic One-Cent Vaudeville and Crystal Hall

Adolph Zukor, a product of New York’s Lower East Side Jewish ghetto and the future founder of Paramount Pictures Corp., launched the Automatic Vaudeville Co. on 14th Street and opened his first amusement arcade in 1904. In addition to coin-operated fortune tellers, strength testers, and other gadgets, there were peepshow viewers for running 30-second movies. With the movies providing the steadiest income flow, Zukor and his partners made over $100,000 in the first year and soon converted the floor above the arcade into a small motion-picture theater, calling it the Crystal Hall. Arcade attractions cost one cent while the movies cost a nickel. After a quick trip to view Harry Davis’ operations in Pittsburgh (see Figure 7.23), Zukor opened his first nickelodeon next door to the Automatic One-Cent Vaudeville.

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