5-cent Cinema

The term NICKELODEON was first used to mean a theatre where a motion picture could be seen for five cents, or a nickel. The –odeon is thought to come from the keyboard instrument, the melodeon, which also was used as a name for a music hall. Odeon was also the name of a famous theatre in Paris.

Nickelodeons predated the grander, much larger, movie palaces of the 1920s.

The word extended its meaning to include amusement arcades, where patrons put a nickel in a slot machine to play a game. It was first used in the late 1930s to mean a machine that played music for the cost of a nickel, in other words an early jukebox.

It is this nickelodeon referred to in the 1950s song that goes –

Put another nickel in; In the nickelodeon
All I want is lovin’ you; And music! music! music!