Sheridan Square Theatre

6108 Penn Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Cinemette Corporation of America, Harris Amusement Co., RKO, Warner Bros. Circuit Management Corp.

Architects: Edward J. Schulte

Firms: H.E. Kennedy & Co.

Styles: Italian Renaissance

Previous Names: Harris Sheridan Square Theatre, RKO Sheridan Square Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Catherine Variety Sheridan

The Sheridan Square Theatre was opened by the Harris Amusement Co. as a vaudeville theatre on October 20, 1913. From November 4, 1929 it was taken over by RKO and was equipped with a Wurlitzer organ. The Warner Bros Circuit took over in 1933. In 1973 it was taken over by Cinemette who sublet the theatre and it became an adult movie theatre which closed in August 1977. It sat unused until demolition began in September 1987 and was finally demolished in summer of 1989.

Today, a CVS sits on the site of the former theatre which was located in the East Liberty section of Pittsburgh.

Contributed by Rick Aubrey

Recent comments (view all 15 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 18, 2010 at 6:43 pm

Here is a promtion only Gus Davis would think about.Back in those days Managers really were expected tp PROMOTE a movie. Mr.Davis, had a local horse dressed up to promote “HORSE IN THE GRAY FLANNEL SUIT” for kids to see.
Parents snapped pictures of the kids and the horse.That horse was in a real four piece gray flannel suit.
It was so popular in Pittsburgh,that the Horse was also at THE VILLAGE and WHITEHALL THEATRES. Feb 10 1969.

drm4c2670 on April 13, 2010 at 7:34 pm

I have the resume of Edward J. Schulte who lists this theater as his design while working with the firm of Werner and Adkins of Pittsburgh, sometime before moving to Cincinnati in 1921. Schulte later became well known for designing churches and cathedrals.

drm4c2670 on April 13, 2010 at 7:40 pm

sorry, my mistake— the firm Edward Schulte worked with in Pittsburgh to design the Sheridan Square Theater was H.E. Kennedy who had once worked for Werner and Adkins. He also claims designs for a Schenley Theater and Liberty Theater.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on February 2, 2013 at 1:28 pm

In 1926 the Sheridan Square Theatre got a new Wurlitzer pipe organ, opus 1344, a style E-X, 2 manuals, 7 ranks. Interestingly, the next Wurlitzer opus number, 1345, an identical organ, went to Pittsburg’s Harris Theatre. Were the Harris and the Sheridan Square under the same management?

Denny Pine
Denny Pine on January 6, 2016 at 4:16 am

Pittsburgh native Frank Gorshin worked as an usher at the Sheridan Square Theater…years before becoming an actor and riddling crime on Gotham City

edblank on January 6, 2016 at 6:20 am

Gene Kelly worked there briefly in his teens, also, although I cannot specifically recall confirming that detail with him or with Gorshin. Although the Enright was the largest theater in East Liberty, the Sheridan Square was the neighborhood’s second largest and its crown jewel.

Denny Pine
Denny Pine on April 11, 2018 at 10:17 am

The Sheridan Square opened as a vaudeville theater on October 20, 1913. The opening day acts included J.K. Emmett (Illustrious son of the famous “Fritz” Emmett) & Company, Doria Opera Trio, Les Montforts (comedy bar gymnasts), Musical Fredericks, and others.

Final day of operation at the Sheridan Square, according to newspaper listings, was June 1, 1977 with “The Together Brothers” and “Capone”. The theater sat dormant until demolition started in September 1987 and did not finish until summer 1989.

Nessa on November 1, 2019 at 5:15 pm

Was watching Season 2, Episode 12 of a show called “Salvage Dawgs.” They were taking down a theatrical facade and they said it was the facade of the former Sheridan Square theatre. They said they were in Ohio though. However, the facade appeared to be an old facade attached to a newer building. Was it the facade of this theatre? I couldn’t find any clearer information. (Or a clearer picture of the facade to verify)

dallasmovietheaters on July 12, 2022 at 6:55 am

Opened by Harris Amusement Company with live vaudeville on October 20, 1913 the Italian Renaissance Sheridan Square Theatre was an East Liberty destination theater rivaling the downtown houses. The Harris circuit selected the name of Sheridan to honor Civil War figure, Union Cavalry General Philip Sheridan. The Sheridan Square Theatre’s best days were when Gene Kelly ushered there and during the Golden Age of Hollywood when RKO Theatres assumed control of the venue on November 4, 1929 under the moniker of the RKO Sheridan Square. Warner Bros. Circuit took on the venue in 1933. Cinemette Corp. took over 17 venues from Warner in 1973 including the Sheridan Square which was likely at the end of a leasing point at its 60th anniversary. Its oddest moment was when an abandoned baby was left in the theatre and, when the parent(s) could not be located, the baby was adopted under then name of Catherine Variety Sheridan.

Sadly, the theatre’s predictable last act was rather sketchy by all counts. Cinemette Circuit subleased the venue to two different operators in 1976-1978. Theatre manager Martel Unman was charged with drug trafficking when several ounces of heroin were found in the Sheridan Square Theatre’s managerial office in December of 1976. Then an adult policy was instituted by Gilbert “Gibby” Katz in June of 1977 dropping first-run. Katz also programmed the Palace and Ritz-Mini adult theaters. Katz claimed that teenagers had come to the Sheridan’s first-run fare but had caused $15,000 of damage to the theater seats and were scaring off adult patrons. A neighboring church protested the adult films with 1,500 signatures. The adult films were finally stopped in early August of 1977. The second-run discount policy was discontinued after Katz died late in 1977 with Cinemette taking back over the lease in 1978 but not reopening the venue.

Two investors bought the facility planning to restore it. But the roof damage alone would have cost some $200,000 to repair making the project financially impossible. Reports about the theater’s demolition beginning in September of 1987 suggest a 1979 closing date but there is no evidence of the screenings. Part of the terra cotta front was salvaged during the demolition but little else was kept.

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