Enright Theatre

5820 Penn Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15206

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skyvue on November 13, 2022 at 10:48 am

It’s said that actor Dick Powell once served as emcee at the Enright and Stanley theatres.

MyFather on March 30, 2017 at 12:34 pm

If you went to the Enright during the 40’s, my father, Lige Brien, was the theater manager. You probably met him when he open the doors! He was there for Lost Angel, White Cliffs of Dover, Raiders of Ghost City, Destination Tokyo and Constant Nymph, among others. He also managed the Barry and Kenyon.

matineeguy on February 21, 2017 at 10:17 pm

Indeed the Enright was named after Thomas Enright. Many a Saturday my buddies and I in the late 30s and 40s carried lunches, doors opend at I believe 9am. There was a series of cartoons, News of the Day, a talent show, Johnny Mitchell at the organ with a sing along, Previews of coming attractions,a serial,two features, maybe a rest break inthe middle, a Pete Smith Special,even Lotto to win prizes. At 5:30 we were ready to go home. What a day !!!!! Sadly, all his is gone. I would gladly sit through a session like that today. Youth has no idea as to what it missed.

To the query of the Stanley organ, both the Stanley and the Leow’s Penn downtown theaters had one. A large flood in 1936 all but totally wiped out these two beauties. Sad. The Stanley also had name bands and stage shows on Saturday mornings.

dsedman on January 3, 2017 at 12:03 pm

The theatre was said to have been named after Thomas Francis Enright, the first Pennsylvanian serviceman and was among the first three serviceman killed during World War I. The large mural entitled, “America Triumphant” was above the lobby exit as created by S. Tilden Stern (shown in photos) commemorated Enright’s service.

rivest266 on September 6, 2014 at 11:37 am

December 28th, 1928 grand opening ad in photo section.

blaird1255 on February 17, 2012 at 10:06 am

The Enright did have an organ. It was a hammond, and it was played by johnny Mitchell during the saturday talent shows.

gorhamzoro on March 27, 2011 at 11:59 am

Did this Enright Theater have an organ? I looked at the organ in a theater in a Pittsburgh neighborhood in the 1960’s but bought the 3/27 Wurlitzer that was in the Stanley at the same time. I can’t find anything about the Stanley or the Stanley organ pre-1970. Can anyone help or direct me to some internet data on the Stanley, pre-1970? Thanks everyone.

pizzuto211 on June 24, 2009 at 8:56 am

I can add something to the 1950’s. At that time I had permission to do free-lance photography at the Saturday talent shows. I did not save the photos, but I have my records. There was a talent show as late as December 7, 1950. My records end after that. The name Phil Katz shows up in several places, and I believe he was the Enright manager at that time. On an undated day between August 18 and September 28, I photographed a “yo-yo expert & bicycle.” I don’t remember if there was a yo-yo contest that day. I also photographed a “Borden display” and a lobby display “9 Big Weeks.” That day there was also a birthday cake for someone or something, and there was a letter contest: RTSNREUAT. I also made a time exposure for “Rocketship X-M,” possibly another display.

edblank on June 16, 2009 at 6:38 am

The Enright was closed from mid-June 1953 (“Desert Legion” & “Off Limits”) through Christmas 1953 (“Mogambo” & “Blowing Wild”).

It closed again after the mid-May 1957 double bill of “Battle Hymn” and “Rock, Pretty Baby,” unless you count the “live” closed-circuit fights telecast a night or two later.

I believe there was some indication that it was just closed temporarily (a common practice in the moviehouse business), but The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette’s Havold V. Cohen dropped a line into one of his daily columns saying the Enright (probably) wasn’t ever really going to reopen.

The only night it did function again after that was for another one-nighter closed-circuit telecast of boxing matches (daydating with the Penn, the Stanley and the Harris – those three being Downtown) highlighting a title bout between Carmen Basilio and Sugar Ray Robinson on or about March 29, 1958.

kencmcintyre on June 15, 2009 at 11:41 pm

Here is an undated photo. It looks like the theater was already closed, as the marquee is directing patrons to the Sheridan Square theater.

jft100 on May 13, 2009 at 9:00 pm

Can anyone tell me the year that the Enright Kiddy show sponsored a YOYO contest. I believe maybe 1948-1950.Please anyone rembering this please contact me with anything you know about this.One of the prizes was a Special edition Schwinn bike…..j.Tolomeo

edblank on May 11, 2009 at 7:56 pm

There is nothing on the site of the former Enright. All of the shops have been razed. It’s a vacant lot.

rivest266 on March 4, 2009 at 4:57 pm

The grand opening ad can be found in this scanned microfilm at View link
you may have to drag to the bottom of the page to find the smallish ad for such a large theatre.

pizzuto211 on March 3, 2009 at 7:49 am

In the late 1920s and early 1930s my father operated a fresh produce store diagonally across the street from the Enright Theater. It was Three Star Produce Company at 5721 Penn Avenue. Dick Powell used to buy apples there after he performed at the Enright. When I was born (1929) our family lived about 2 blocks from the Enright. Later my mother used to take me and my sister to the Saturday shows where we got 2 feature movies, a newsreel, a cartoon, a sing-a-long with Johnny Mitchell at the Kimball Organ, and a half-hour amateur show, all for, I think, 10 cents. Sometimes we got free ice cream. In later years Frank Gorshin got his start at the Enright talent shows before going to Hollywood.

edblank on November 28, 2008 at 1:10 pm

I think it’s just a mistake. The theater was huge – 3000-plus was an extraordinary for a third-or fourth-run double-feature neighborhood house, which is what it had become by the 1940s. But it had a relatively narrow frontage on Penn Avenue, so I don’t think the frontage was nearly wide enough to accommodate both of those addresses.

After walking straight ahead through a large lobby and narrower corridow, you made a right turn into the palatial auditorium.

First thing I remember seeing there was “Strangers on a Train,” sitting in the balcony on a Friday night.

kencmcintyre on November 28, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Advertised as a Stanley-Warner theater in 1955 at 5806 Penn Avenue. Ed, I don’t know why it says 5806, but that’s what I have listed here.

edblank on June 14, 2008 at 1:33 pm

The Stanley Warner-owned Enright Theatre, named in a contest for the first Pittsburgh area serviceman to die in World War I, was absolutely located at 5820 Penn Avenue in East Liberty. I grew up nearby.

I cannot account for the wildly incorrect use of the address 1806 Pennsylvania Avenue in the lawsuit link listed above, but I’ve come across such legal-document errors before.

Arkansas-born crooner-actor-director Dick Powell emceed shows here and at Pittsburgh’s Stanley Theatre around 1930. (He was making movies by 1932.)

The Enright famously showed Saturday kiddie shows in the 1930s and 1940s with serials.

Despite the fact it was the third largest moviehouse in Western Pennsylvania (the Stanley and Loew’s Penn had greater capacities but were both first-run deluxe Downtown theaters), the Enright was a third-to-fourth-run house (second or third neighborhood run), playing movies only after they made their East Liberty neighborhood debuts at the Sheridan Square, Liberty and Regent theaters.

The Enright played strictly double bills (even “Quo Vadis” opened on a double feature), with changes every three or four days.

It’s unclear why Stanley Warner downgraded the Enright to being such a late-run house and why they allowed it to deteriorate so markedly and without any renovation of note in the final several years.

It opened and closed off and on in the 1950s. I cannot say positively whether it was used for any live performances in the 1950s, save a minor rock ‘n’ show or two. The only boxing I can vouch took place there was when the theater booked an occasional closed-circuit TV-on-the-big screen of heavyweight championship fights, as three of four large theaters did periodically in the 1950s.

The Enright already had played its final movie program when it reopened for a single night to show one of these closed-circuit matches.

The theater was razed and the sizable property used for parking and for a small urban version of a strip mall, with downscale stores. I believe all of those little stores and offices have been razed in the past few years.

jflundy on April 20, 2008 at 7:46 pm

Sorry, unable to correct wrong URL for both above entries.

jflundy on April 20, 2008 at 7:41 pm

Sorry for the last posting which shows the New Granada. Enright 1951 photo is here:
View link

jflundy on April 20, 2008 at 7:38 pm

An April 24, 1951 view of the Enright View link

jflundy on April 20, 2008 at 7:16 pm

Here is a nice January 10, 1935 view of the Enright in East Liberty taken from across Penn Avenue at 5909, Sofi’s Restaurant which served a great .50 cent steak.
View link

acer42 on July 16, 2007 at 6:23 pm

The architects for the Enright were Hoffman-Henon.

kencmcintyre on December 28, 2006 at 1:11 pm

This lawsuit shows a different address for the theater: