Harris Theater

223 S. 4th Street,
Jeannette, PA 15644

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F_J_Harris on June 14, 2013 at 11:42 am

For the first two years of my life my family lived in this theater. I have no actual memory but I’ve seen pictures and heard stories. My Dad, John P. Harris, was the manager and an apartment on the second floor came with the job. (Dad was named after his paternal uncle who founded the Nickelodeon in Pittsburgh in 1905.) We moved back to Pittsburgh in 1950 (which conforms with Mr. Vogel’s timeline in his comment dated July 22, 2009.) Following that my Dad managed several Harris theaters, including the Denis in Mount Lebanon and the Perry on the North Side of Pittsburgh. Those two theaters I do remember. Frank J. Harris

JohnHunt on February 19, 2013 at 2:24 pm

Thanks for that Joe. Yes, after I started looking into Grace Vogel and her family in Pennsylvania I was amazed at just how many there were. It seems that she most probably wasn’t a relative of yours, but I think it sure is a wierd coincidence that she should have been the pianist at the old Eagle Theater, along with your own interest in the place. I can’t say that I’m a huge Cinema/Theater buff, but it is great to know a bit more about where she worked back then. Thanks for your kind help and interest. John

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 18, 2013 at 10:26 pm

John, as far as I know I had no relatives in Pennsylvania during that period (nor any now, for that matter.) Vogel is actually a fairly common surname though. My great-grandfather, Jacob Vogel, emigrated from Switzerland to California in 1883 with two of his daughters, joining his eldest son, who was already here. His wife and five younger children, including my grandfather, followed in 1884. Most of his descendants still live in California.

JohnHunt on February 18, 2013 at 6:03 pm

According to the Greensburg City Directory for 1917 my distand relative by marriage, GRACE A VOGEL is listed as being the Pianist at the EAGLES THEATER, Greensburg, PA. She was the daughter of ALBERT VOGEL and AMANDA BIBER, and born 16th September 1892 in PA. She had previously been married to RUGH G BAUM, but divorced and later married BURTON M NEWELL. She died in 1940 in Greensboro, North Carolina. Was she possibly a relative of yours JOE VOGEL ?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 23, 2012 at 12:11 am

Jeannette, by Terry Perich and John Howard, says that this house reopened as the Harris Theatre on October 4, 1933. It had originally opened as the Eagle Theatre on December 10, 1910.

The Eagle Theatre was originally operated by Oliver Kihchel in partnership with August Schmidt, the town’s police chief. In 1917, Kihchel and his wife, Bessie, took over sole operation of the house. In the mid-1920s, they took control of the Princess Theatre, then operated both houses until forced by financial problems to give up the Eagle to the Harris chain in 1933.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 23, 2009 at 6:15 am

The Harris Theatre of Jeannette was in operation prior to 1939, at the time the Harris Amusement Company took a lease on Michael Manos’s new Manos Theatre in the same town. The new house operated as the Harris-Manos Theatre until 1949, at which time operation was taken over by the Manos circuit. The Harris circuit continued to operate the Harris Theatre as well during this decade.

In 1950, Manos bought the Harris Theatre, ending the Harris circuit’s presence in Jeannette. The March 25 issue of Boxoffice that year said that Michael Manos had closed the Harris Theatre. I’ve not found any later mentions of the Harris in Boxoffice.

Patsy on July 31, 2007 at 8:57 pm

DavidStear: Do you know of a former Harris Theatre that was in Butler PA?

DavidStear on May 31, 2002 at 8:55 pm

This theater’s name before it was converted to a social club was Harris Theater. It was presumably of the Harris chain.