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“Working Theatre of the Silent Era”

Niles Essanay Silent Film Museum
Ranked #10 of 28 things to do in Fremont
Attraction details
Reviewed 26 August 2013

The home for Charlie Chaplin films, this a working man's movie hall that lacks frill and has hard chairs (take a pillow.) Piano players change but ya, the B&W films did not rely on sound. For a feel of how it was, it is. Historic pre-Hollywood, that is Niles. Well worth you time and still cheap, as working cinema was invented.

1  Thank TommyMack
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Reviews (26)
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20 - 24 of 26 reviews

Reviewed 28 March 2013

If you are in the East Bay area and looking for something to do, take a short drive towards Fremont to visit Niles and its silent movie museum. The museum is on the site of the old Essanay film studio; the movie home of the first cowboy film star, Bronco Billy Anderson, and Charlie Chaplin.

It's time well spent if you have any interest in the history of the movie industry, and if you like Charlie Chaplin, Our Gang, or any of the old silent (or early talkie) classics, be sure to time your visit on a Saturday or Sunday so you can watch several films in the museum's old bare-bones screening room. If you go for the silent films, you can't help but be impressed by the live piano accompaniment. Admission to the films is only $5 and snacks are cheap.

Even if you can't make it for the films, you should go to see the posters and artifacts in the museum. They have a great gift store too.

2  Thank readem
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 January 2013

My family and I make going to this place a nice tradition they're open every week and even on events like the super bowl (for people that don't watch it). It's a fun place to hang out and watch old films.

1  Thank ThatSpecialSomeone
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 January 2013

The entire staff is very knowledgeable about Niles and its film industry times. Very interesting information provided and VERY interesting pictures for Niles prior to becoming a District of Fremont.

Thank Debbie L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 25 November 2012

We purchased advance tickets via their website to attend the Comedy Short Subject Night. Other than the receipt from Paypal, we didn’t get any confirmation or instruction when/how to get the ticket. We arrived at 6:45pm for 7:30pm showing. The museum (theater) was closed and the sign said the door will open at 7pm. About 20 people were congregated by 7pm outside the museum. Once the door was opened, most of the people formed a line to purchase their tickets inside and there was a lady standing aside and calling out for Will-Call customers. I was prepared to show the lady the Paypal receipt but there was no need; she looked up our last name and gave us the tickets and told us to proceed to the theater (skip the ticket purchase line). The theater was filled with old wooden theater chairs and some modern plastic lawn chairs. A lady was handing out seat cushions at the entryway. The seating capacity was around 150 and there is no seat assignment. When the movie started, the theater was about 70% filled; the youngest patron was 10-ish and the oldest was 93 (she was just few years younger than the theater itself). It is an old theater so it might not be possible but I wanted to see more restrooms; there were only two old unisex restrooms. Snacks (coffee, popcorn, ice cream, candy bar, etc) were available for purchase and the overall atmosphere was very casual and relaxed. The movies were fun and the background history and the trivia given were very interesting and enhanced our viewing pleasure.
They showed 4 movies that night and took a break after first two which was around 9:30pm. They encouraged us to check out the museum shop and the projection room during this time which made us speculate the break will not be a short one. We were really tired that day and the prospect of going home late (11pm at the earliest as that pace) was dreadful; regrettably, we left the theater without viewing latter two movies.
If you like silent movies, you will have a good time.

1  Thank SWMDL60
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC

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