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Special Collections at the University of Maryland

Pre-Nickelodeon (1895-1905) - Venues for movies were legitimate theaters, vaudeville theaters, burlesque theaters, opera houses, churches, halls, and amusement parks. Examples: None in existance.

Nickelodeon (1906-1916) - Small, usually under 300 seats, arched entrance with varying amounts of decoration including classical statuary on facade. Examples: None in existence, but see the front of the Mount Vernon Theater in D.C. Children's Museum.

Keith's Theater

Keith's Theater, designed by architect Jules Henri de Silbour in 1913, was a popular vaudeville theater in Washington, D.C., for many years. It opened in 1912 as a vaudeville house known as Chase's, for owner Plimpton Chase, but was sold the following year and renamed for its new owner B.F. Keith. Keith's was attended by numerous presidents beginning with Woodrow Wilson, who was an ardent fan of the vaudville performances.

The theater closed briefly in 1928 and reopened three weeks later with motion pictures on the bill, along with vaudeville. Keith's remained a movie theater for the next four decades. It was remodeled in 1954 and renovated again in 1976 when Don King took over its operation. The theater finally closed in 1978.

Despite its designation as a national landmark, the old Keith's was torn down with only its facade remaining.


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