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Have a memory of the Hollywood Theater?

Share your memories about the Hollywood Theater for a future historical display.

In my short first month as the new managing director at the Hollywood Theater, I’ve already witnessed an incredibly diverse range of events and programming.  FOUND Magazine made us their second stop on a 75-city tour.  We held a joint birthday party for a couple who then surprised their audience (including their parents) by getting married on stage.  We held our successful first “brunch and a movie,” with delicious food from Sugar Café.  We had author/director Stephen Chbosky (Perks of Being a Wallflower) come and present his beloved Rocky Horror Picture Show to a sold out crowd.  And this week I saw a lobby full of frightening zombies at the Zombie Shorts Film Festival. 

My background as an archivist got me to thinking about the theater’s history.  I know that in 1924 Murray’s Bowling and Billiards opened in our building, which became the Hollywood Bowling Alley in 1931.  Just two years later it was transformed into the Hollywood Theater.  But you can still see a few archeological clues in the dark corners of the theater’s basement.  I recently discovered a panel that was for the old bowling ball return mechanism (I’d be happy to show you, just ask me).   

In the 50s and 60s the Hollywood was one of Pittsburgh’s main second run theaters, and reportedly packed the house with neighborhood debuts of La Dolce Vita and West Side Story in 1962.  As larger theaters, home video and cable TV eventually began to take their toll on smaller cinemas, the Hollywood struggled for many years.  After numerous closures and valiant attempts to restart the theater, it was finally converted to a nonprofit organization in 2011 – a crucial change that will allow the community to have a say in whether the Hollywood continues.

The Hollywood Theater has been open for nearly 80 years now.  I know exactly what has happened here over the last 30 days, but that leaves another 30,000 nights or so that aren’t accounted for.  But perhaps you can fill in the gaps?  How many of you have seen a movie or been to a great event at the Hollywood?  Taken any photos?  Have some special memories?  We want to hear from you!  Share them here, post on our Facebook page, send us an e-mail, or stop by and share.  We’ll be gathering them all together in a makeshift archive of sorts and in a future display in our lobby.  Thanks, and see you at the Hollywood!

For more information about the theater, please visit us at www.thehollywooddormont.org

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Colin Matthews October 07, 2012 at 05:58 PM
Join us on Thursday, October 25th for a fun night and raise some money for the theater! www.steelcitysecretcinema.com
S. Eudy October 08, 2012 at 02:01 AM
My favorite Hollywood Theater memory has to be coming out for various screenings of flicks during the mid 90s when prices were ultra low once a week. Pay a dollar to see Seven on a big screen with friends? Yes please! Also, the zombie event a few years back (2007?) was swell, but needed more brains.
Erin Faulk October 08, 2012 at 01:53 PM
Last November, I got to interview Ian Petrella, who played Randy Parker in "A Christmas Story," at the Hollywood Theater: http://patch.com/A-nYLD. He was there to host a special showing of "A Christmas Story," and the house was packed. That was a fun event—I'd only been working for Patch for about two weeks, so it was a great way to start the job!
Mike October 08, 2012 at 01:58 PM
I met my wife at The Hollywood, way back in the 90's at the Rocky Horror Picture Show. The Hollywood will always hold a special place in my heart.
Erin Faulk October 08, 2012 at 02:14 PM
I'm ashamed to admit I've never seen Rocky Horror Picture Show. Planning to correct that this Halloween, at Hollywood Theater, of course!
jflags October 08, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I remember my dad and uncle taking me and my cousins to go see Gettysburg back in 93 or 94. We went on a school night since they were calling for snow and we figured school would be canceled or delayed. Since it was so long there was an intermission and we checked outside then. Much to our delight it was snowing good so we knew school was going to be canceled the next. As little kids we loved being able to stay out so late. The only downfall was walking home in the snow! I also loved the free movies every year after the Christmas parade. There was nothing better than marching in the Christmas parade and warming up with a free movie at the Hollywood!
Robert Patterson October 08, 2012 at 10:35 PM
Part of my weekly routine in the mid-70' s, after paying up my paper route manager, was to go to Campitis pizza, Rags and Records,(remember that place?), then to the Hollywood Theater, or Lucky Strike lanes(remember that one)?. My good friend Joe Goedert, whom I shared the route with for awhile before we both ended up at the Redwood Inn, made this pilgrimage every week. I always looked forward to Saturday for the weekly double features, and the cartoons!

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