Little Picture House

151 East 50th Street,
New York, NY 10022

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The quaintly named theatre was reportedly America’s first “cooperative cinema”, owned and operated by a membership corporation that paid dividends to the shareholders from any profits realized. From its 1929 opening, The Little Picture House showed only what it considered the best of Hollywood and foreign movies, but always as single features with several short subjects added. Besides individual admissions, patrons could buy tickets in books of ten, which saved them about 15% off the regular price.

The theatre hoped to lure customers from the East Side “carriage trade” and the numerous hotels in the area, especially the still building, 2,200-room Waldorf-Astoria on Park Avenue. Unfortunately, the advent of the Depression killed any chance of success, and The Little Picture House closed in 1934. It was replaced by stores and eventually by an office building.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 2, 2013 at 7:44 pm

A photo of the lounge of the Little Picture House in New York appeared as part of a portfolio of recent theater designs in the October 25, 1930, issue of Exhibitors Herald-World. It can be seen at the lower right of this page (click + sign in tool bar at bottom to enlarge.) The caption identifies the architects of the house as Pruitt & Brown.

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