The Nickelette (1932)

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This short humorously recreates the experience of going to a nickelodeon during the silent film era, using footage of silent films and sarcastic narration.




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Cast overview:
Leo Donnelly ...
Narrator (voice)
Jack Freeman ...


This short film recreates the experience of watching films shown during the silent era in what were called nickelettes, since admission for an evening's entertainment cost five cents. The newsreels presented include New Yorkers going speed crazy in being able to travel seven miles in three hours, and a race between a motor vehicle and an airplane. Following is one of the features, The Wonderful Chance (1920), which starred 'Rudolph Valentino' in one of his earliest roles, but in character not often portrayed by him, namely the gangster. A short commercial and a live musical interlude precede a second feature in which a dastardly villain abducts the helpless heroine, a secretary, who must be saved from doom by her boss. Throughout the evening's entertainment, the narrator providing the voice over has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek. Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


Short | Comedy





Release Date:

24 September 1932 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Pepper Pot (1932-1933 season) #2: The Nickelette  »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs


| (TCM print)

Sound Mix:

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See  »

Did You Know?


Vitaphone production reel #1399. See more »


Features The Wonderful Chance (1920) See more »


The Curse of an Aching Heart
Music by Al Piantadosi
Lyrics by Henry Fink
Sung on-stage by an unidentified singer
See more »

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User Reviews

Cutting the Sausage
7 May 2011 | by (Los Angeles) – See all my reviews

"When movies were silent and money talked, a nickel bought an evening's entertainment. Let's enter one of these ancient Nickelettes --" opens this short spoof on silent films. After being reminded to follow good theatre rules, the "Newsreels" play. Here, they're called "Pathetic Newsreels" instead of a "Pathé Newsreels". Get it? ...Okay, next up is, "Where There's Life - There's Hope" starring Rudolph Valentino. These are excerpts from "The Wonderful Chance" (1920) with Mr. Valentino's role enlarged. You can see Rudy trying out some acting bits of business...

Valentino has mastered the "hat tip, head scratch" move. Eugene O'Brien is also identified, but these rummages through old silent films have no real respect for the material; most often, players and films are unidentified fodder for ridicule. After the drama, live entertainment. Then, the second part of the double feature is "You Never Saw Such Sausage" adapted from the play "Salami" by "Fitzugh Lipschitz". This suggested spoof of Ernst Lubitsch's "Salome" resembles neither.

*** The Nickelette (9/21/32) Bert Frank ~ Leo Donnelly, Jack Freeman, Rudolph Valentino, Eugene O'Brien

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