Where did Nickelodeon Get its Name From?

Nickelodeon has been synonymous with children's TV entertainment for 30 years now, even though the network does let a few very inappropriate things slide by every now and again. Indeed many children of the 90s can picture the orange, slimy logo with very little trouble, but have you ever wondered what the word "nickelodeon" actually means?

The word first became popular in the early 20th century when the motion picture business was in its infancy. Most theaters at the time were little more than converted storefronts showing trivial, short novelty pictures which ran continuously for an admission price of five cents.  Henry Davis an John P. Harris, who owned one such theater, took to calling it the "Nickelodeon." The word is a combination of "nickel" and the Greek word, "odéon" which meant "covered theater."

The term became so popular that it was adopted by hundreds of other such theaters around the United States and a few other countries. As the industry changed,  moving toward full-length motion pictures, nickelodeons slowly began to die out.

Comique Theatre in Toronto, Canadian

When Viacom relaunched its children's network in 1979 they changed the name from Pinwheel to Nickelodeon to reference the idea of the channel having a continuous flow of fun, novel and interesting programs for children.

Nickelodeon's very first logo...Not terribly interesting.

Oh, and if you wanted to experience what the old nickelodeons were like, you could head to Disneyland which has an operating nickelodeon right on Main Street USA. It doesn't actually cost a nickel (since, you know, you did just pay hundreds of dollars to get your family in the park) and it features old Mickey Mouse cartoons. 

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