Jack L. Warner: Last of the Hollywood empire builders
Nickelodeons were America's first movie theatres. They came in all sizes, bearing fancy names like the Tivoli. The majority, however, were simple joints, a bed sheet serving as a screen, a Kinetoscope (Thomas Edison's patented projector), and occasionally a piano or organ. The Warner brothers, Harry, Sam, Abe and Jack, opened their first Nickelodeon in 1903, in Newcastle, Pa. It had 99 chairs rented from a mortuary, the seats occupied by mourners in the day and movie patrons at night. Jack, born in London, Ontario, on Aug. 2, 1892, was 11. The brothers had one film, "The Great Train Robbery." It was a financial haymaker.