Eldorado Theatre

52 W. 125th Street,
New York, NY 10027

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The Eldorado Theatre was the first cinema to be operated by Nathan Hirsh, a pioneer New York City exhibitor who died in 1956 at age 83. Hirsh opened the Eldorado Theatre in 1903, at the urging of his friend and Harlem neighbor, Marcus Loew. "Rent a store," Loew advised Hirsh. "Tell your wife to sew up four bed sheets for a screen and rent chairs from an undertaking parlor." Hirsh followed the instructions exactly. The rented store was at 52 W. 125th Street. Hirsh named the theatre the Eldorado Theatre and obtained the fourth license issued for motion picture theatres in Manhattan, according to his obituary in The New York Times of 3/21/56. I don’t know how long the Eldorado Theatre lasted, but Hirsh went on to own a chain of theatres in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens, as well as a distribution company called Pioneer Film Corporation. He retired in 1936 after selling the last of his theatres, the Garden Theatre and Casino Theatre in Richmond Hill, Queens.

Contributed by Warren G. Harris

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Al Alvarez
Al Alvarez on March 10, 2010 at 9:16 am

The story above about bed sheets and funeral chairs is repeated in the movie “The Brothers Warners” as urban legend on how the Warner Brothers started their exhibition business. I suspect it is all fabrication.

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