Little Picture House
151 E. 50th Street,
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Firms: Pruitt & Brown
Styles: Art Deco
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 December 25, 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.
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