• November 7, 2017

    THS to open a Pop-Up Nickelodeon in Downtown Pittsburgh


    Imagine going to the movies for a nickel…

    Come see a movie in Downtown Pittsburgh during the 2017 Holiday Season for only 5 CENTS! Theatre Historical Society of America opens a Pop-Up Movie Theatre to the public for a limited time, November 17th through December 31st, 2017.

    Did you know that Pittsburgh became the birthplace of the commercial cinema industry by opening a nickelodeon in 1905?   To celebrate the holidays, Theatre Historical Society of America will open a Pop-Up Nickelodeon beginning Light Up Night on November 17 from 5PM-9PM!    “We’re calling it a ‘Pop-up Nickelodeon,’ but essentially, that’s what it was in 1905,” says THS Executive Director Richard Fosbrink “It’s a storefront, exactly what Nickelodeons were. It was an idea: ‘Let’s just charge people to see movies.’ They never thought it would last.”   Pop in to see one of our selected films and see our special achieve presentation at: 

      811 Liberty Avenue. Opening night: Light Up Night on 11/17 from 5PM-9PM   11/18 – 12/31  Closed Mondays Tues-Sun Noon-7PM   Closing night: First Night on 12/31 from 6PM-11PM  

    The Sponsors:  The Nickelodeon, a collaboration with these wonderful sponsors, is one of their first major outreach events, to raise the local visibility of THS. Pittsburgh Cultural Trust Pittsburgh Downtown Partnership Port Authority of Allegheny County Showclix Pittsburgh Stage

    The Exhibit:  The exhibit will cover Pittsburgh’s essential role in cinematic history, and the first Nickelodeon, which was on Smithfield Street. The Nickelodeon will screen classic films from the Nickelodeon era, including Edwin S. Porte’s “The Great Train Robbery” and Georges Melies'  "A Trip to the Moon,” as well as short films introducing the Theatre Historical Society of America and their mission.

  • October 10, 2017



    OCT 10th IS HISTORIC THEATRES DAY! PITTSBURGH, PA – Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) proclaims October 10th as Historic Theatres Day with a City of Pittsburgh Proclamation from Mayor William Peduto. Historic Theatres Day honors the legacy of theatres as well as the film and theatre industries in Pittsburgh that have impacted our city and the region.

    For nearly fifty years, THS has been the guardian of the architectural, cultural, and social relevance of historic theatres in the United States. In that time, THS has documented nearly 18,000 theatres in the American Theatre Archives; many of which have been lost to the wrecking ball. THS moved their offices and archives to Pittsburgh in 2016 due to the rich history of the region, as Pittsburgh is widely regarded as the birthplace of the stand-alone, commercial movie theatre, the Nickelodeon.

    “These venerable, temples of entertainment, have entertained for generations and continue to be icons of thriving communities across the country,”said Executive Director Richard L. Fosbrink. “THS is thrilled to launch Historic Theatres Day, what we hope will become a nation-wide event, right here in our adopted hometown of Pittsburgh.”

    “We are delighted that the Theatre Historical Society of America has adopted Pittsburgh as its new home for its archives and institution. Among the many wonderful cultural aspects this city has to offer, the Society’s presence makes an excellent addition. With some of the grandest historic theatres in the nation here in Pittsburgh such as the Benedum Center for Performing Arts and the Byham Theater, we are overjoyed by this proclamation which will continue the celebration, preservation, and protection of these cultural landmarks for years to come”, said J. Kevin McMahon, President and CEO of the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust.


    Founded in 1969 as a non-profit organization dedicated to celebrating the rich history of America’s historic theatres, the Theatre Historical Society of America (THS) exists today as a common ground for all who value the role of these historic structures in our architectural, cultural and social history. Through preservation of the collections in the American Theatre Architecture Archive and our educational programming, including our flagship publication Marquee\ and Conclave Theatre Tour, THS increases awareness, appreciation and scholarly study of America’s theatres. Visit THS online at


    Visitors to Theatre Historical Society of America have the opportunity to explore in the greatest theatre architecture-related archive of its kind, the American Theatre Architecture Archive (ATAA). The collections housed in the ATAA contain information on over 18,000 theatres (both domestic and international) and span nearly every style and period of theatre architecture. Composed of photographs, negatives, slides, postcards, artists’ renderings, scrapbooks, books, periodicals, business records, blueprints and architectural drawings, supplier and trade catalogs, architectural artifacts, theatre furnishings, ushers’ uniforms, and numerous other items, the collections exist to document and preserve the cultural and social history of America’s theatre buildings. Find out more and explore our collections online at

    !Get Involved!

    use hashtag #HistoricTheatresDay tomorrow to share stories, photos, and videos from your favorite Theatres.

    You can also CONTACT: Gina Vensel

    September 28, 2017


    photograph by Fred Beall from Fred Beall Collection

  • August 22, 2017

    New Orleans, LA – A farewell to Rene Brunet Jr.


    From the Weekly Citizen: The New Orleans film community lost one of its brightest stars last week with the passing of Rene Brunet, Jr. He was one of the last, if not the very last, of the movie theatre owner-operators who could rightfully claim title to being a “showman,” an appellation Brunet would have enthusiastically endorsed. In a world where movie exhibition, at least the mass audience variety, has become almost the exclusive preserve of corporate types (lawyers, accountants, fund managers, etc., etc.), at a time when “show business” is all about the “business,” Mr. Brunet was still about the “show” (though he had a keen nose for the business as well, as any distributor who was on the other side of one of his harangues can attest to).

    While his story doesn’t quite begin with “born in a trunk in the Princess Theatre in Pocatello, Idaho” like Judy Garland (a fave of his), Brunet had show business—-well, the movie theatre division—-in his DNA at birth. He could tell you (at length) about the days of silent film, about how he played the organ in those halcyon days, and how moving pictures killed vaudeville. He lit up like a marquee when recalling the glory days of the movie theatre in New Orleans; he could recite the names of all the “naborhood theatres,” which were legion in the day, as if chanting the litany of the saints: the Abalon, the Cortez, the Escorial, the Fox, the Peacock…and, of course, the Prytania which he and his son Robert have operated in recent times. He gloried in telling stories about running movie theatres throughout the years, such as how in the early days of talking pictures when the sound was on a cylinder separate from the film, a streetcar rumbling by would make the stylus slip, causing an uproar among the patrons as the picture went out of sync—-much like a similar sequence in “Singin’ in the Rain,” his favorite movie of all time.

  • July 25, 2017

    Park Rapids, MN – Fire damages Park Rapids movie theater


    From Valley News Live: Investigators are looking for the cause of a fire at a well known classic movie theater in the Valley.

    According to reports the marquee sign at the Park Theater in downtown Park Rapids caught fire Monday night.

    The fire started about 7:00 p.m. and the Park Rapids Fire Department posted on Facebook for people to give them room on the busy street so they could do their job.

    About two dozen people were in the theater at the time, everyone made it out safely.

  • East Stroudsburg, PA – Fire rages at movie theater in the Poconos


    From Lehigh Valley Live: A fire at a Poconos movie theater continues to burn with no end in sight.

    Firefighters were summoned to the fire at the Poconos Movieplex at 7:35 p.m. Sunday. The movie theater is at 125 Municipal Drive off Route 209 in Middle Smithfield Township.

    Patrons had to clear out of the theater. Some stayed to watch firefighters battle the blaze.

    Flames initially shot through the roof and smoke continued to pour out two hours later. The fire is being fought by Bushkill, Stroud, Marshalls Creek, Shawnee and East Stroudsburg fire companies.

    No one answered the phone at the Bushkill Volunteer Fire Co. firehouse and the chief didn’t immediately return a message late Sunday.

    The fire is in a strip mall once called the Foxmoor Village Mall but was renamed Pocono Square in 2010, according to a report in the Pocono Record.

    The Record reported that the building changed hands when the previous owner couldn’t keep up with rent payments. It was purchased by Vermont state Sen. Kevin J. Mullin in 2010, the report says.

    According to the Pocono Record, a fire destroyed a free-standing building in the front of the mall in 2009.

  • April 10, 2017

    Bridgeport, CT – Mayor to announce chosen bidder for Bridgeport theater revival


    From The Connecticut Post: The city has chosen a bidder to revive the old Poli Palace and Majestic Theater complex and the mayor could announce the winning bid in his speech before the business community on Monday. Mayor Joseph Ganim, who gave a tour of the Main Street site when he campaigned to win back his old seat in 2015, has said bringing the theaters, which are in the same building, back online would be a priority for his administration. The city several months ago issued a request for proposals for redevelopment of the building on the edge of the downtown, which is also home to the former Savoy Hotel. The city also recently placed a faux marquee-style sign in front of the structure that reads “Majestic” across the front and has the words “Coming soon” on the side. In the fall, before the request was issued, Thomas Gill, the city’s economic development director, told Hearst Connecticut Media the city would be looking for mixed uses at the site and a plan to bring back at least one of the theaters. “I don’t think anybody believes it could go back to two theaters,” Gill said at the time. The two theaters have a total of 5,500 seats, with the Palace the larger of the two. They were opened in 1922 and closed in the 1970s. Any proposals submitted to the city would likely preserve as much of the historic elements of the buildings as possible.

  • February 10, 2017

    Milwaukee, WI – BREAKING: Fire guts historic Milwaukee theater State Theater opened in 1915


    From A historic Milwaukee theater went up in flames Thursday evening.

    The State Theater, located in the 2600 block of State Street, was destroyed in the two-alarm fire.

    The abandoned building is located just two blocks from the famous Five O'Clock Steakhouse.

    The theater first opened in 1915 and played host to silent movies and various entertainment events.

    Throughout the years, it was also known as the Electric Ballroom and Palms, and even served time as a church.

    U2 played a concert at the theater before the band became well known, but the building has been abandoned for at least two decades.

    Nobody was injured in the fire and it’s not clear what sparked it.

  • January 4, 2017

    New book on the Kings Theatre in Brooklyn, published by Theatre Historical Society of America.


    On September 7, 1929 the Loew’s Kings Theatre in Brooklyn opened its doors to the public for the first time. Less than 50 years later they were shut, seemingly for good. Designed by the Rapp & Rapp architecture firm in the French Baroque style, the Kings is not only an architecturally important piece of Brooklyn history, but from community standpoint as well. Many Brooklynites had their first date at the theater, or walked across the stage during their high school graduation. Now, after almost 40 years of darkness, the curtain is beginning to rise.

    When it reopened in 2015, the Kings became the largest indoor theater in Brooklyn and the third largest in New York City. It is a place for the community to gather once again, hosting everything from Broadway shows to concerts. Take a trip through the history of the Kings via photographs and artifacts spanning the theater’s heyday through its renovation. Watch the theater return to its original splendor and learn for yourself why it’s called Brooklyn’s “Wonder Theater.”

    This new book by Matt Lambros contains never before seen historic and modern photographs of the Kings, as well as a complete history of the theater. There are a limited supply available online at Amazon.

  • December 30, 2016

    Pueblo, CO – Pueblo theater leaders weigh in on future of arts


    From The Pueblo Chieftain: The windows are darkened, the box office is closed and the marquee is still advertising a production from Dec. 8, 9 and 10. The curtain has officially fallen on the Damon Runyon Theater Company, prompting sadness from local performing arts advocates and questions about the fate of its historic headquarters.

  • December 22, 2016

    Sag Harbor, NY – UPDATE: In Sag Harbor, Spirit Trumps Fire As Recovery Gets Underway


    From the East End Beacon: Now is the winter of Sag Harbor’s discontent made glorious by the spirit of its people.

    Amid the chunks of fire debris still swirling in puddles throughout this bayside village this weekend, there were signs, already, that the community was feeling stronger for having pulled together through last Friday’s devastating fire.

    Shoppers packed Main Street Sunday, bags brimming with Christmas gifts in hand, pausing briefly to gaze at the remains of the Sag Harbor Cinema, demolished over the weekend after its front wall began sagging toward the street, hugging each other tenderly and making plans for holiday celebrations.

    The iconic Sag Harbor Cinema sign, which the community had banded together to recreate about a decade ago, was delicately removed as the façade was demolished by a track excavator from Keith Grimes, Inc. Friday night. It has been stored for safekeeping by Twin Forks Moving & Storage.