Gateway Theatre

119 6th Street,
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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Showing 26 - 41 of 41 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 24, 2009 at 11:13 pm

This house was called the Harris-Alvin Theatre in many Boxoffice Magazine items as far back as 1935. Contrary to what Ed Blank was told (comment of May 28, 2008, above), the Alvin was apparently not destroyed by a fire. Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of November 16, 1940, has the real story.

It says that a 100 foot by 40 foot section of the roof of the theater had collapsed the previous Tuesday evening (November 14), and four people were injured in the consequent scramble for the exits. The roof had been leaking and bits of plaster falling for an hour before the collapse, so attendants had moved patrons from the balcony and the front section of the orchestra floor into dry seats protected by the overhang of the balcony. Fortunately, the balcony itself did not collapse, and no one was killed.

The building had been inspected less than two weeks earlier, and had passed. The collapse was later attributed to dry rot in the fifty year old wooden beams supporting the roof. The Alvin had undergone an extensive renovation in 1935, and the balcony had been retrofitted with steel support beams at that time, which was probably what prevented its collapse onto the estimated 175 patrons seated under it. Had the roof also been retrofitted in 1935, the disaster would probably not have happened.

I can’t find any information about whether the Alvin was partly salvaged or had to be demolished and replaced with a new building, but a later Boxoffice article about the event, in the December 7, 1940, issue, said that the house was being rebuilt and was expected to open within a few months. Neither can I find an exact reopening date, but a Boxoffice article from July 17, 1943, about the demolition of another Harris house, mentioned in passing that the circuit’s flagship, the J.P. Harris Theatre, was located on the site of the Alvin Theatre in Pittsburgh.

bbriley on September 24, 2008 at 2:00 am

Hello all! Thought you may be interested in this. According to a large original poster that I have in my Indy collection: The Stanley & Gateway Theatres, Downtown, PGH, hosted a Live Closed-circuit telecast of the Indy 500 on Memorial Day, May 30th, 1968.
1968 Indy poster

edblank on July 10, 2008 at 12:34 pm

LM, Your link worked perfectly for me. I have no idea why some links work for me and some do not, but I appreciate your effort and generosity in doing the transfer into a format I could access.

kencmcintyre on July 10, 2008 at 12:02 am

I don’t know, Ed. They work for me, so it’s hard to figure out what the problem is.

edblank on July 9, 2008 at 11:51 pm

Sorry, Ken, but despite your postings being news, I keep getting: “The page cannot be displayed.” No idea what the problem is here.

kencmcintyre on July 9, 2008 at 11:48 pm

Here is a better view of the marquee:

edblank on July 9, 2008 at 11:44 pm

Correct, LM. Crazily enough, in Downtown Pittsburgh, Sixth Avenue takes a half turn when it crosses Liberty Avenhue and becomes Seventh Street. Sixth Avenue is a full city block from the start of Sixth Street.

edblank on July 9, 2008 at 10:58 pm

Sixth Street is/was the location of the Byham (Fulton), former Gateway (previously J.P. Haris / before that the Alvin) and Heinz Hall (formerly Loew’s Penn).

It leads directlyy to what used to be called the Sixth Street Bridge, which officially had been renamed the Roberty Clemente Bridge.

It is called Federal Street when it reaches the North Side on the other side of the Allegheny River.

edblank on July 9, 2008 at 10:33 pm

No luck accessing your marquee files, Ken.

kencmcintyre on July 9, 2008 at 7:47 pm

This 1915 photo lists the address as 119 Federal. There may have been a name change somewhere along the way:

kencmcintyre on July 9, 2008 at 7:10 pm

There is a small photo of the marquee here:

edblank on May 29, 2008 at 12:16 am

At least one version of the Alvin Theatre (someone once told me a fire destroyed an earlier Alvin) operated on the site from Sept. 21, 1891, through 1944, when a fire destroyed part or all of the theater.

It reopened as the John P. Harris Theatre, known to most simply as the Harris, which was the flagship of the local Harris Theatres circuit. It included a large balcony.

The Harris, which initially had 2,106 seats, played virtually every Columbia movie that opened Downtown and split the 20th Century Fox films 50-50 with the nearly adjacent Fulton Theatre (now called the Byham).

Ironically, despite the Harris' contractual ties to Columbia, when the studio released the 1954 blockbuster “From Here to Eternity,” the company’s biggest hit to date, it went to the Stanley, which had nearly double the capacity of the Harris.

When the Sterns (Ernest and cousin George) purchased the Harris for their Associated Theatres circuit, they conducted a contest. Moviegoers were to guess the theater’s forthcoming identity from the phrase, “We’re making way for a gate change.” The theater became the Gateway.

Among the many notable titles to make their local debuts in the Harris years were “All About Eve,” “Born Yesterday,” “High Noon,” “The Robe,” “There’s No Business Like Show Business,” “On the Waterfront,” “The Caine Mutiny,” “Picnic,” “Anastasia,” “Heaven Knows, Mr. Allison,” “An Affair to Remember,” “Pal Joey,” “Peyton Place,” “The Bridge on the River Kwai,” “Anatomy of a Murder,” “Suddenly, Last Summer” and “North to Alaska.”

dcooke on July 8, 2006 at 6:13 pm

I remember the long lines for “Jaws” back in 1975 that extended all the way down to 6th and Penn. I also remember the following year the giant “ape paw prints” that were painted on the sidewalk leading to the Gateway to promote the upcoming run of “King Kong”.

We sure had a lot of great downtown movie theaters – Warner, Stanley, Gateway, Fulton, Loews Penn, Fiesta – those were the days.

roxdude on June 8, 2006 at 6:13 am

Ah the Gateway. So many memories like the Beatles, HELP! The lines would extend down 6th street and wrap around the Roosevelt Hotel.

This movie theater also participated in Ladies Day every Wednesday during the mid 60’s. As a kid, I went there after school for the last showing to see a movie for 50 cents. Loved those powered donuts.

Ron3853 on December 9, 2004 at 6:04 am

Listed below are the films which played at the Gateway from January 1, 1964 to December 31, 1971
01/01/64 Charade
02/19/64 Man’s Favorite Sort
03/04/65 Dark Purpose
03/11/64 Man in the Middle
03/18/64 Captain Newman, M. D.
04/22/64 Dr. Strangelove
05/13/64 Operation Petticoat/Pillow Talk
05/20/64 Evil of Frankenstein
05/27/64 Wild and Wonderful
06/10/64 The Chalk Garden
06/24/64 The Seventh Dawn
07/01/64 Bedtime Story
07/15/64 Honeymoon Hotel
07/22/64 Marnie
08/19/64 The New Interns
09/02/64 Looking for Love
09/09/64 The Killers
09/16/64 I’d Rather Be Rich
10/07/64 Diary of a Bachelor
10/14/64 Send Me No Flowers
11/25/64 Kitten With a Whip
12/03/64 Joy House
12/16/64 Bye Bye Birdie/West Side Story
12/23/64 Father Goose
01/20/65 Kiss Me, Stupid
02/10/65 How to Murder Your Wife
03/17/65 Bus Riley’s Back in Town
03/31/65 The Truth About Spring
04/14/65 Major Dundee
04/28/65 Dr. No/From Russia, With Love
06/16/65 McHale’s Navy Joins the Air Force
06/23/65 The Art of Love
07/07/65 What’s New, Pussycat?
08/18/65 Help!
09/01/65 Billie
09/15/65 Never on Sunday/Topkapi
09/29/65 Ship of Fools
10/20/65 A Rage to Live
10/27/65 The Secret of My Success
11/03/65 The Nanny
11/24/65 The War Lord
12/22/65 Thunderball
03/30/66 The Group
04/27/66 A Man Could Get Killed
05/11/66 The Pink Panther/A Shot in the Dark
05/25/66 Blindfold
06/15/66 Marnie/The Birds
06/22/66 The Russians are Coming… The Russians are Coming
08/10/66 Torn Curtain
09/21/66 Goldfinger/Dr. No
10/12/66 Alvarez Kelly
10/26/66 An American Dream
11/02/66 Return of the Seven
11/16/66 The Fortune Cookie
12/21/66 Murderers Row
02/01/67 The Spy With a Cold Nose
02/08/67 Tobruk
02/22/67 Is Paris Burning?
03/15/67 Ulysses (Mar 15-17 only)
03/22/67 How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying
04/19/67 The Alamo
04/26/67 Who’s Afrai of Virginia Woolf?
05/03/67 To Kill a Mockingbird/That Touch of Mink
05/10/67 One Million Years, B. C.
05/24/67 For a Few Dollars More
06/07/67 8 on the Lam
06/21/67 You Only Live Twice
08/16/67 The War Wagon
08/30/67 Fathom
10/11/67 Point Blank
11/15/67 Tony Rome
12/20/67 The Jungle Book
01/17/68 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
02/14/68 The Billion Dollar Brain
02/21/68 The President’s Analyst
03/06/68 P. J.
03/20/68 How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life
04/03/68 The Scalphunters
04/17/68 The Secret War of Harry Frigg
05/08/68 Where Angels Go, Trouble Follows
05/15/68 Will Penny
05/22/68 The Devil’s Brigade
06/12/68 What’s So Bad About Feeling Good?
06/19/68 The Private Navy of Sgt. O'Farrell
06/26/68 The Thomas Crown Affair
08/07/68 With Six You Get Eggroll
08/21/68 Hang ‘Em High
08/28/68 The Hell With Heroes
09/04/68 Salt and Pepper
09/18/68 The Ugly Ones
09/25/68 A Lovely Way to Die
10/02/68 West Side Story
10/30/68 Shalako
11/06/67 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
11/13/68 Yellow Submarine
11/27/68 Coogan’s Bluff
12/18/68 The Night They Raided Minsky's
01/01/69 The Brotherhood
01/15/69 Play Dirty
01/22/69 The Stalking Moon
02/05/69 Buona Sera, Mrs. Campbell
03/12/69 Mayerling
03/26/69 Where Eagles Dare
04/23/69 A Fistful of Dollars/For a Few Dollars More
04/30/69 The First Time
05/14/69 Where It’s At
05/21/69 If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be Belgium
06/11/69 How to Commit Marriage
06/25/69 The Maltese Bippy
07/09/69 Peter Pan
07/16/69 Mackenna’s Gold
07/30/69 Daddy’s Gone A-Hunting
08/13/69 Castle Keep
08/27/69 Number One
09/10/69 3 into 2 Won’t Go
09/24/69 The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly/Hang 'Em High
10/01/69 The File of the Golden Goose
10/08/69 Some Kind of a Nut
10/15/69 Marlowe
10/22/69 The Battle of Britain
11/19/69 Change of Habit
11/26/69 The Gypsy Moths
12/17/69 On Her Majesty’s Secret Service
02/04/70 The Happy Ending
02/25/70 A Dream of Kings
03/04/70 Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
04/08/70 Halls of Anger
04/22/70 The Honeymoon Killers
05/06/70 The Lawyer
05/13/70 Let it Be
05/20/70 Suppose They Gave a War and Nobody Came
06/03/70 A Man Called Horse
06/24/70 A Boy Named Charlie Brown
07/22/70 Beneath the Planet of the Apes
08/12/70 Cotton Comes to Harlem
09/16/70 Hornet’s Nest
09/23/70 Sabata
09/30/70 Witchcraft '70
10/07/70 Cannon for Cordoba
10/14/70 It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
11/04/70 The McKenzie Break
11/18/70 Scrooge
12/16/70 Burn!
12/23/70 Rio Lobo
01/13/71 You Only Live Twice/Thunderball
02/10/71 Doctors’ Wives
03/10/71 My Fair Lady
03/24/71 Mrs. Pollifax-Spy
04/07/71 Valdez is Coming
04/28/71 Brother John
05/05/71 Lawrence of Arabia
05/19/71 Valley of the Dolls/Beyond the Valley of the Dolls
05/26/71 Support Your Local Gunfighter
06/02/71 Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song
06/30/71 Le Mans
07/21/71 Big Jake
08/11/71 Dr. No/From Russia, With Love
08/18/71 The Love Machine
09/22/71 Adios, Sabata
09/29/71 The Seven Minutes
10/06/71 Klute
10/13/71 Jennifer on My Mind
10/20/71 The Organization
11/17/71 Going Home
11/24/71 something big
12/08/71 Play Misty for Me
12/22/71 Diamonds are Forever

Films which played the Gateway from January 1, 1972 on will be listed in later posts.

Ron3853 on December 9, 2004 at 5:14 am

Listed below are films which played at the Gateway (Harris) heater in downtown Pittsburgh from June 25, 1958 to December 31, 1963. Reasearch is from microfilms of Variety and The Pittsburgh Press and The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. The dates listed are the Wednesday of the opening week of new bills. Films which played in later years will be listed in subsequent posts.

06/25/58 The Bravados
07/09/58 The Key
07/30/58 The Fly
08/13/58 Gunman’s Walk
08/20/58 The Fiend Who Walked West
08/27/58 The Hunters
09/10/58 The Whole Truth
09/17/58 Tank Force
09/24/58 Me and the Colonel
10/01/58 Andy Hardy Comes Home
10/08/58 The Decks Ran Red
10/15/58 Missouri Traveler
10/22/58 Gun Runners
10/29/58 The Mark of Zorro
11/05/58 In Love and War
11/19/58 The Last Hurrah
12/10/58 A Nice Little Bank That Should Be Robbed
12/17/58 The 7th Voyage of Sinbad
12/31/58 The Inn of the Sixth Happiness
01/21/59 Rally Round the Flag, Boys!
02/11/59 Bell, Book, and Candle
02/25/59 These Thousand Hills
03/04/59 Up Periscope
03/18/59 The Trap
03/25/59 The Sound and the Fury
04/08/59 Gidget
04/15/59 I, Mobster
04/22/59 Warlock
05/06/59 Alias Jesse James
05/20/59 Count Your Blessings
05/27/59 Shane
06/10/59 It Happened to Jane
06/24/59 Say One for Me
07/22/59 Anatomy of a Murder
09/02/59 The Blue Angel
09/16/59 A Private’s Affair
09/23/59 The Tingler
10/07/59 The Man Who Understood Women
10/14/59 The Best of Everything
10/28/59 They Came to Cordura
11/18/59 Yesterday’s Enemy
11/25/59 Hound Dog Man
12/02/59 Day of the Outlaw
12/09/59 Northwest Mounted Police
12/16/59 1001 Arabian Nights/The Flying Fontaines
12/30/59 Journey to the Center of the Earth
01/20/60 The Rookie
01/27/60 Suddenly, Last Summer
02/24/60 Seven Thieves
03/02/60 Who Was That Lady?
04/06/60 Because They’re Young
04/13/60 Sink the Bismarck
04/27/60 Babette Goes to War
05/04/60 The Wind Cannot Read
05/11/60 The Killers of Kilimanjaro
05/18/60 The Third Voice
05/25/60 The Mountain Road
06/08/60 Man on a String
06/15/60 The Story of Ruth
07/06/60 13 Ghosts
07/13/60 Murder, Inc.
07/20/60 Strangers When We Meet
08/10/60 Hell to Eternity
08/24/60 Let’s Make Love
09/14/60 The Time Machine
09/21/60 All the Young Men
10/05/60 High Time
10/12/60 Surprise Package
10/26/60 I Aim at the Stars
11/02/60 Song Without End
12/14/60 The 3 Worlds of Gulliver
12/28/60 The Wackiest Ship in the Army
01/18/61 Let No Man Write My Epitaph
01/25/61 The Marriage-Go-Round
02/01/61 The Plunderers
02/08/61 Can-Can
03/01/61 Cry for Happy
03/15/61 The Sword and the Dragon
03/22/61 Pepe
04/26/61 Operation Eichmann
05/03/61 The Trapp Family
05/10/61 Return to Peyton Place
06/07/61 Atlantis, the Lost Continent
06/14/61 Wild in the Country
06/21/61 Homicidal
07/05/61 Gidget Goes Hawaiian
07/12/61 Two Rode Together
07/19/61 The Guns of Navarone
09/13/61 The Big Gamble
09/20/61 Armored Command
09/27/61 Scream of Fear
10/04/61 Seven Women from Hell
10/11/61 Francis of Assisi
10/18/61 The Devil at 4 O'Clock
11/15/61 The Comancheros
12/06/61 Twenty Plus Two
12/13/61 Twist Around the Clock
12/20/61 Flower Drum Song
01/24/62 Tender is the Night
02/07/62 The George Raft Story
02/14/62 Lover Come Back
04/04/62 Walk on the Wild Side
04/18/62 State Fair
05/09/62 Experiment in Terror
05/30/62 Cape Fear
06/20/62 That Touch of Mink
08/08/62 The Head
08/15/62 Five Weeks in a Balloon
08/22/62 The Spiral Road
09/12/62 The Phantom of the Opera
09/26/62 No Man is an Island
10/10/62 Damn the Defiant
10/17/62 Roman Holiday
10/24/62 White Slave Ship
10/31/62 We’ll Bury You
11/07/62 The War Lover
11/21/62 If a Man Answers
12/19/62 Barabbas
01/09/63 A Child is Waiting
01/16/63 Taras Bulba
02/13/63 40 Pounds of Trouble
03/06/63 Diamond Head
03/27/63 To Kill a Mockingbird
05/08/63 The Ugly American
05/29/63 Hud
06/12/63 Tammy and the Doctor
06/19/63 The Nutty Professor
06/26/63 A Gathering of Eagles
07/10/63 Come Blow Your Horn
08/14/63 The Thrill of it All
09/18/63 For Love or Money
10/02/63 The Haunting
10/09/63 The Leopard
10/23/63 The Running Man
10/30/63 Rampage
11/06/63 Mondo Cane
11/13/63 Under the Yum Yum Tree
11/27/63 The Wheeler Dealers
12/25/63 Charade