Strand Theatre

3609 Forbes Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15213

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Rowland and Clark Theaters, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: Harry S. Bair

Functions: Retail

Styles: Neo-Classical

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Strand Theatre

This was a theatre in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh. It was about three blocks from the University of Pittsburgh and about four from Forbes Field. The Strand Theatre was opened by May 1922 when it was operated by the Rowland and Clark Theaters chain. It was equipped with a theatre pipe organ which was supplied by Peloubet & Co. of Oakland, CA.

The only film I can recall seeing there as a child was “Li'le Abner”, and even then, Stella Stevens made an impression on me! :) The Strand Theatre was closed July 4, 1978 with “The Great Smokey Roadblock” and “Dixie Dynamite”.

There was also a theatre in downtown Mt. Oliver which used to show triple bills of science fiction films (one was “Reptilicus”). All I recall of it was that the building was made of brick and took up an entire block.

Contributed by george senda

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

asa11030pgh on February 1, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Above the theater was a 36 alley bowling alley 2 floors of Duck Pins third floor Ten Pins.I sat up pins there in 1944 & 1945 I was 15.Cost of bowling was 35 cents a line.The other show on Atwood St was the New Oakland (also called the Boom-Boom )I lived in Oakland from 1934 till 1948 at 400 S.Craig St.Now called Lu Lu

asa11030pgh on February 1, 2012 at 4:57 pm

The best show was the Schenley Theater,second was the Strand,third was the New Oakland many people would not go in the Oakland.

simpsonr on March 25, 2013 at 6:38 pm

I went to this theater which showed mostly 2nd run movies several times while in college in the early 1950’s, Unusual theater design in which the audience entered the auditorium from behind the screen. The theater organ was no longer there.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2013 at 5:38 am

The Strand Theatre was in operation by 1916. The January 22 issue of The Moving Picture World said that it would open about the first of February. Like several other Rowland & Clark houses of the period, the Strand was designed by architect Harry S. Bair.

johnbarchibald1 on November 21, 2013 at 8:57 pm

Yes, the design of this theatre was unique. You entered the theatre, then had to walk either right or left, to reach a long aisle, sloping upward, to reach the back of the theatre. The whole thing was built into the side of a hill, and used the elevation as a natural element in raking the audience. For some reason, I saw a lot of MGM reissues there, like “Brigadoon,” and “Quo Vadis,” mostly in the mid-to-late-60’s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 22, 2013 at 12:02 am

The design of the Strand was unusual, but not unique. There have been more than a dozen reverse theaters, designed so that audiences enter at the screen end of the auditorium. The only one I ever attended myself was the Hastings Theatre in Pasadena, California, but I have come across several Cinema Treasures pages for theaters with this rare configuration. There have probably been quite a few more that have not yet been listed here.

edblank on November 22, 2013 at 9:38 am

The Etna Theater in Etna was another locally in which you entered the theater from behind the screen. Was never in that one but was in the Strand many times. One marked disadvantage: Anyone entering or leaving the theater during a movie or anyone going to and from the concession stand (behind the screen) tended to pull one’s focus from the screen. There are auditoriums of Manhattan multiplexes like this, also.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 5, 2014 at 4:48 pm

The August 12, 1978, issue of The Pittsburgh Press said that the Strand Theatre in Oakland, which had recently closed, was being converted into space for three stores. The total space being converted was 8,500 square feet, so the Strand must have been a good-sized theater.

Denny Pine
Denny Pine on April 12, 2018 at 10:50 am

Final day of operation was July 4, 1978 with “The Great Smokey Roadblock” and “Dixie Dynamite”

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