533 Washington Avenue,
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Previous Names: Rankin Theater, Villager Theater
Ahhhh…the old Galaxy Theater in Bridgeville, PA. Bridgeville is a suburb of Pittsburgh, approximately 13 miles south of the city.
Mostly what I remember is the old, sticky, red carpet and red drapes, cheap popcorn and pop. It was one of those old theaters where you got to listen to the projector at the same time as the movie. Saw “Huckelberry Finn” here and various other great movies when I was little. We always called it “going to the show” and I had to tag along with my older brothers.
It was lots of fun going here until the owner started to let teenagers (and their friends) run it.
The theater was located on Washington Avenue in the heart of the small town’s business district. It had a neat old marquee so you always knew what was playing. When it closed (around the 1980’s or early-1990’s) I believe movies were still $1.50-2.00 and I think Tuesday was .50 cent night!
Sadly the structure was demolished when a small child playing with matches burned down part of the block (nobody was hurt).
A small office building sits at 533 Washington Avenue now which also houses a nice place to eat and drink called Burg’s Pizza and Wings. Currently there is a Destinta theater at one end of the town and a Star City Theater that just closed at the other end. Another multi seat theater sits approximately four miles away at South Hills Village. Of course there are some other great, old theaters around Pittsburgh and it’s suburbs.
Gimmie the old Galaxy any day….What a great little town Bridgeville still is though.
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Recent comments (view all 5 comments)
The Galaxy was also called the Rankin. Here is a photo of the fire in 1985:
Thank you for the picture!
Great picture, Ken.
In addition to its original identity as the Rankin, the theater was known as the Villager before it became the Galaxy.
If memory serves, the Villager suffered a fire in the 1960s.
By the time the Villager was repaired and ready to reopen, RKO Stanley Warner had constructed a plush 1,303 single-screen theater about four miles away called the Village. (That one is now Carmike 10, a wholly refurbished building with 10 stadium-seat auditoriums.) The new Village was in Bethel Park about 100 yards from South Hills Village, which is divided between Bethel Park and Upper St. Clair.
Correctly sensing that Bridgeville’s Villager Theatre needed a new name to avoid confusion, they picked Galaxy as its new identity.
I only saw a couple of movies there – one, I think, when it was the Villager and one at the Galaxy. One of the films was a late run of “Fantastic Voyage” when I first returned from the Army and was doing a lot of catching up.
What I remember is buying a ticket outside, as in the old days, then walking through the lobby door only to be sold my popcorn in the lobby by the same lady. She was on double duty at the concession stand and had only to wheel around and hop off her box-office stool to sell concessions at the stand directly behind rthe box office.
As I recall, the theater had peculiar acoustics. Something about the lack of carpeting and curtains created a bit of an echo. Does anyone else remember this?
Closed June 18, 1987 with “Lethal Weapon”.