Harris Family Theatre

6113 Penn Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Harris Amusement Co.

Architects: Victor A. Rigaumont

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Liberty Theatre, Alhambra Theatre

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Harris Family Theatre

Opened in September 1907 as the Liberty Theatre, a conversion of an existing retail store. In 1911 it was renamed Alhambra Theatre. The Harris Amusement Co. chain took over on September 24, 1933 and on October 6, 1933 it was renamed Harris Family Theatre. Reportedly it was one of the two seediest theatres among the seven in East Liberty in the 1940’s. It was the first of the seven to close, giving up on May 2, 1948 with Barry Fitzgerald in “The Naked City”. The TV era had not begun.

The original structure may still exist because it’s in the middle of a commercial block. For several years up into the early-1980’s, the site was a Thom McAnn shoe store. It was a late neighborhood run double-feature house, narrow and drab by reputation.

Contributed by Ed Blank

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

edblank on June 14, 2008 at 12:44 pm

The capacity was 754.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 6, 2014 at 12:58 pm

The Alhambra Theatre had been converted into a fruit store before it was reopened as the Harris Family Theatre in the 1930s. The Alhambra is on the left side of Penn Avenue in this 1928 photo. If the building still exists it must be the one occupied by the Rent-A-Center midway between Centre and Sheridan Avenues.

The May 4, 1935, issue of Motion Picture Herald featured this full page of before and after photos of the Harris Family Theatre. The Art Deco-style renovation was designed for the Harris Amusement Company by architect Victor A. Rigaumont.

The Alhambra Theatre was in operation by 1915, when it was mentioned in the August 4 issue of The Moving Picture World.

matineeguy on February 21, 2017 at 10:23 pm

Well do I remember the Family Theater. Seedy, yes, but to we of the WWII kids generation, lots of war movies and newsreels. Free tickets to us who collected scrap in the drives for the war effort. For so many poundas of scrap we received tickets to the theater. Fond memories indeed.

Roger Katz
Roger Katz on December 13, 2019 at 12:47 pm

Listed as the Liberty Theatre in the 1914 American Motion Picture Directory

dallasmovietheaters on May 30, 2022 at 6:30 pm

The Liberty Amusement Company launched the Liberty Theatre in an existing retail store in September of 1907. In 1911, the theatre was in new operators' hands as the renamed Alhambra Theatre. The Alhambra was wired for sound to remain viable.

The Harris Theatre Circuit took on the venue on September 24, 1933. It renamed the venue as the Harris Family Theatre on October 6, 1933. which closed permanently on May 2, 1948 with Barry Fitzgerald in “The Naked City.” It was retrofitted for a five and dime variety store.

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