from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A theater of a very low class, where the price of admission is a penny or two.
Sorry, no etymologies found.
The respectable and greatly - trusted Sam was letting off a series of wild howls which would have done credit to a penny-gaff Zulu, and was evidently very much out of temper about something.
"penny-gaffs" and the like, the "penny-gaff" being the equivalent of our dime museum.