Avenue Theater

1108 5th Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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Additional Info

Previous Names: Pearl Theater

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A story in the Los Angeles Times dated November 26, 1903 described a fire at the Avenue Theater, a moving picture theater. It does not appear that the theater was damaged beyond repair, however.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on June 27, 2007 at 4:21 am

The Avenue Theatre is listed as open in the 1950 edition of Film Daily Yearbook with a seating capacity of 200. The address is given as 1108 5th Avenue, Pittsburg, PA

edblank on May 28, 2008 at 7:36 pm

There were at least five theaters called the Avenue in the Pittsburgh area, but the 200- (or 225-) seater mentioned here was at 1108 Fifth Avenue in McKeesport, a town just to the east of Pittsburgh.
The theater’s earlier name was the Pearl.

edblank on May 28, 2008 at 7:40 pm

The site by 1983 had become either a surface parking lot or the Light Brothers sportswear store. (Precise addresses were indistinct within the block.)
There was a different Avenue Theatre in McKeesport at one time, at about 520 Fifth Avenue.

edblank on May 28, 2008 at 7:47 pm

Postscript to the above: The other Avenue Theatre in McKeesport later was known as the Victor, for which I’ll create a C.T. entry now.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 24, 2009 at 3:47 am

This particular Avenue Theatre must be the one that got the name in 1938. According to Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of November 12 that year, the former Pearl Theatre on Fifth Avenue uptown had reopened as the Avenue Theatre after being “…renovated from front to back, wall to wall and ceiling to floor….” The owner of the Avenue was Jacob Richman.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 13, 2019 at 9:01 pm

Here is an item from the September 21, 1923 issue of The Moving Picture World which might, or might not, be about the Avenue Theatre:

“PITTSBURGH, PA.— Majestic Theatre Corporation has plans by Rubin & Ve Shancey, Union Arcade, for one-story brick moving picture theatre to be erected on Fifth avenue, near Magee street, to cost $75,000.”
Whether or not this item was in fact about the Pearl/Avenue, the Avenue Theatre that had the fire in 1903 was a different house, and probably not on the same site. A November, 1903 fire at Harry Davis' Avenue Theatre in Pittsburgh is mentioned in the end notes of The Perils of Moviegoing in America: 1896-1950, by Gary D. Rhodes, as well as in Charles Musser’s The Emergence of Cinema: The American Screen to 1907.

Other sources reveal that Davis operated his Avenue Theatre at least as early as 1896, and that it burned down in 1905, whereupon Davis and his partner John P. Harris opened the famous Nickelodeon. While Davis' Avenue Theatre was on Fifth Avenue, I’ve been unable to find an address for it, and it’s possible, maybe even likely, that it was not at 1108 Fifth.

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