Times Square Theatre, 1446 Broadway

Moving Picture World, August 6, 1910:


“If you should walk from one end of Broadway to the other, and also on Forty-second street, two of New York’s most popular theatrical thoroughfares, you will find but one, out of probably two dozen or more theaters, in which pictures alone are shown.

“This martyr of theaters is known as the Times Square Theater, owned and operated by the Saxe Amusement Company at 1446 Broadway, between Fortieth and Forty-first streets.

“Mr. [John] Saxe, President of the company, invited the writer to visit his house while the entertainment was was in progress, and I was struck quite favorably with the appearance of the building both inside and outside, and which I might state was recently reconstructed at a cost of ten thousand dollars.

“The theater is attractive though plain. Its walls, doors, and ticket booth are void of all those lurid and vulgar  posters. The interior decorations and frescoing are of pale green, and the electric lights are also protected by green shades, which renders a very pleasing effect to the eyes.

“The house has a seating capacity of 300, and is never in darkness; the lights are always turned on, but so arranged as not to affect the picture. A double dissolving Motiograph moving picture machine is used in projecting the best licensed pictures, relieved by an occasional illustrated song.

“We trust that the Times Square Theater will set the pace for other strictly moving picture theaters along Broadway.”

Photo of the Times Square Theatre is from Moving Picture World, December 31, 1910.


Legendary theatre historian,  Cezar Del Valle is celebrating  twenty years of talks and walks. He is currently accepting bookings for historical societies, libraries , senior centers, etc.

Del Valle has also joined with Local Expeditions to present a series of walking tours.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, a three-volume history of borough theatres. The first two chosen 2010 OUTSTANDING BOOK OF THE YEAR by the Theatre Historical Society. Final volume published in September 2014.

Currently editing and updating the third edition of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, Volume I.








Theatorium, Main Street, Perry, New York

Looking over early picture postcards of Main Street, one can sometimes spot a storefront movie house such as the Theatorium in Perry, New York.

Theatorium perry


PerryNYA few sentences in the local press provide a basic history.

Its opening reprinted in “Down Memory Lane”, Perry Herald, March 21, 1957:
“March 21, 1907-Perry’s new Theatorium will open to the public on Friday March 22, in the Bullard block next to Coburn’s restaurant, with new and up-to-date movies. Admission will be 5c.”

Perry Herald-News, March 26, 1908:
“Mr. Criswell, who recently took the management of the Theatorium, has improved the conditions so as to accommodate increasing audiences.”

Perry Herald, October 1, 1909:
“At the Theatorium–Friday night: Babe Mitchell, the dainty, singing comedienne; four lighting changes in one act

“Pictures-Poor Kiddies and Lace Making, Buying Manhattan, and Boots He could Not Wear. Song by Mr. Merville   ‘I Wish I Had My Old Girl Back Again’”

Perry Herald, November 2, 1909:
“R. U. Criswell, who formerly run [sic]  the Theatorium here, has bought the Lyric Theatre, a similar moving picture show in Batavia.”

Wyoming County Times, July 14, 1910:
“The Theatorium moving picture house has been closed.”

Wyoming County Times, November 17, 1910:
“The Theatorium is closed again and is being arranged inside for a store.”

From the Perry Herald-News, June 13, 1907:


Theatorium ad

Postcard from the Theatre Talks Collection. Please credit or ask permission to copy  or use.


Cezar Del Valle is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the Year by the Theatre Historical Society.

He is currently accepting theatre talks and walks for 2014–historical societies, libraries, senior centers, etc.

Bijou Dream, Main Street E., Rochester, NY 14614

Opening its doors in 1906, the Bijou Dream was the first theatre in Rochester devoted exclusively to motion pictures.

dream5_Snapseed_pe (Medium)

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, July 31, 1906:

“Since the Bijou Dream was revealed to the public people have been attracted to it by the raucous tones of a phonograph. At first the machine was placed in the open collonade and later it was placed over the entrance inside the building, but the horn spread outside the building and emitted ‘all the latest’ band music and other popular airs.

“For the first few days the phonograph was an attractive feature, but for the business houses in the neighborhood the novelty soon wore off. Above the noises of the street even were heard the piccolo and the comic song of somebody’s military band. Finally neighbors descended in a body upon the mayor and demanded that something be done to abate the alleged nuisance.

“So a warrant was sworn out for Jay Matsbaum of No. 106 Main street east, manager of the Bijou. He is charged with  maintaining  a mechanical instrument called a phonograph which produces loud and constant noises, tending to endanger and disturb the public comfort and repose and create a nuisance.’

Violation of the ordinance is not a misdemeanor but there is a fine of not more than $150 for [?] or a penalty of not more than $500 to be recovered by the city in a civil suit. It is likely that there will be an interesting contest as to the proper [?] of the ordinance.”

The Bijou Dream went dark on February 28, 1913.

Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, March 2, 1913:

“There was a time in the history of Rochester when there was not a picture theater on every corner and when a [?] to the ‘movies’ was an event in most families. The passing of the Bijou Dream, the first picture theater in town, recalls the fact that the day is only seven years back.

“On Friday night the last ‘Good Night’ was thrown on the screen and early this week workmen will start remodeling the building for the United Cigar [?] Company.”


Above photo: Moving Picture World, July 11, 1909


Cezar Del Valle is available for theatre walks and talks in 2013.

He is the author of the Brooklyn Theatre Index, chosen 2010 Best Book of the year by the Theatre Historical Society.