Cinema 4

3075 W. Liberty Avenue,
Dormont, PA 15216

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Showing 51 - 75 of 76 comments

thespian110
thespian110 on March 25, 2007 at 3:16 am

I’ve been reading the comments on this site for quite some time. I am so enthralled by all of the fond memories people have posted about the South Hills Theatre. I have been researching the building and the history and to that end I have enlisted people to help save the building. We are in the process of organizing a non-profit group to restore the theatre. We were informed yesterday that a developer is looking at the building (actually the land) and would eventually tear it down. Today, we began a petition campaign, enlisting citizens who support our plan of revitilazation. In a matter of hours we collected nearly 800 signatures. we are still trying to save and renovate this theatre. I need everyone who checks this page to look at our website and send and e-mail of support! Here’s the link: www.southhillstheatre.org

ewas
ewas on March 24, 2007 at 9:36 am

angel4sam,

Thank you so much for posting that message in regard to the night my father died. I did not think he died in the booth of the SHiT (as my father called it) but I wasn’t sure because I was young and never asked questions about that night until now. It was interesting to see what happened at the theater that night.

My father really did put his heart and soul into that old theater and I would probably feel very sad if I toured it in its current condition. I remember as a kid, Old Man Baker, had a beautiful office on the second floor. I can remember studying his office as a kid. It was adorned in what I think was natural wood and the detailing was superb. Baker was a collector of elephants for some reason. I remember his office was full of different elephant statues and sculptures.

I also remember being there every Saturday and Dormont had some very good places to go. We used to walk down the street and go down to Jo Lynn’s Pizza on West Liberty and get pizza and spaghetti (I still to this day haven’t been able to find pizza that good). We would also play video games there. Or sometimes we would go to Isaly’s and get some fresh cheese and chipped ham and bring it back to the booth where my father had a TV. We would watch shows like the Bob Newhart show, Hee Haw and professional wrestling while eating our chipped ham sandwiches. We always had soda to drink because he or we would go to the concession stand to get it. We had a season pass to the Dormont pool and often when we would come back from swimming, we would go onto the roof top of the theater and catch some rays.

My father would show us how to properly splice film and how to load a reel into the projector. He never missed a reel change. I remember in the early hours before the first matinee showing, my father would always play albums like ELO and Kansas and pipe it through the theater. I can remember being back stage and seeing how amazing it was; all the cables and wiring, etc. The stage itself had an elevator in the middle to raise and lower equipment. Of course, we rode this elevator a few times.

My last good memory of this great old theater was sometime in the late 80’s, my parents (my mom and stepdad) took me to a “Cowboy Junkies” concert there. It was such a great and intimate venue.

If this theater could be brought back to life to do exactly what it did in the 70’s and 80’s, there would be no end to the revenue stream. Of course it would take some creative marketing to compete with the big multi-plexes of today and parking would be an issue but, I remember full-houses there weekend after weekend—that was never an issue.

ewas
ewas on March 20, 2007 at 9:49 pm

I am the son of the projectionist who used to work at South Hills Theater up until 1983. The fact is, my father killed himself in January of 1983. I was 12 years old when this happened so I don’t know much about his death. But, I was reading on a blog under the “Hollywood Theater” that my father committed this act in the booth of the theater. It is ironic how much this theater was my father’s life and love and his life tragically ended there.

On a brighter note, I spent a great deal of time at this old theater and I have a lot of great memories. I can remember the grand stage with high arched openings on each side. The auditorium had a balcony that was similar to the stadium seating of today. I spent a good deal of time in the projectionist booth as well as it was easily accessible from the balcony. As kids, we would often watch movies from the spotlight house at the center of the balcony. I can also remember a packed-house for 70’s film classics like Star Wars, Jaws and Animal House, to name a few.

I have noticed the ol' theater is for sale. I would love to see this theater restored to its original glory. In fact, I believe the theater was featured on a Rick Sebak special, “Things that aren’t there anymore.” I’m not completely sure it was this exact special, but I can remember an interview in a Sebak special in which a person was interviewed in that theater before it was turned into the C4. This person was interviewed from the balcony and the original stage and auditorium can be seen in the background.

I would love to talk more about my memories if anyone cares to talk about it.

ewas
ewas on March 20, 2007 at 9:45 pm

I am the son of the projectionist who used to work at South Hills Theater up until 1983. The fact is, my father killed himself in January of 1983. I was 12 years old when this happened so I don’t know much about his death. But, I was reading on a blog under the “Hollywood Theater” that my father committed this act in the booth of the theater. It is ironic how much this theater was my father’s life and love and his life tragically ended there.

On a brighter note, I spent a great deal of time at this old theater and I have a lot of great memories. I can remember the grand stage with high arched openings on each side. The auditorium had a balcony that was similar to the stadium seating of today. I spent a good deal of time in the projectionist booth as well as it was easily accessible from the balcony. As kids, we would often watch movies from the spotlight house at the center of the balcony. I can also remember a packed-house for 70’s film classics like Star Wars, Jaws and Animal House, to name a few.

I have noticed the ol' theater is for sale. I would love to see this theater restored to its original glory. In fact, I believe the theater was featured on a Rick Sebak special, “Things that aren’t there anymore.” I’m not completely sure it was this exact special, but I can remember an interview in a Sebak special in which a person was interviewed in that theater before it was turned into the C4. This person was interviewed from the balcony and the original stage and auditorium can be seen in the background.

I would love to talk more about my memories if anyone cares to talk about it.

RaneyOnline
RaneyOnline on January 3, 2007 at 9:23 am

I drove past the Cinema 4 today and was sad to see it in this condition. I noted that Dormont’s Liberty Ave was very much like a downtown Main Street in any number of communities accross the United States. I witnessed heavy traffic (vehicular and pedestrian) and very few empty storefronts. This area could support the re-opening of this theater if parking arraingments could be made with nearby church or other property owners. Residence should confront their community leaders and encourage them to build a parking garage.

MadMonkey13
MadMonkey13 on December 4, 2006 at 2:01 pm

I would really like to return this theater to its former glory. Does anyone know somebody who specializes in theater restoration?

raubre
raubre on September 12, 2006 at 7:19 pm

Thanks for the updates JDR!!!

JOHNRUSKIN
JOHNRUSKIN on August 11, 2006 at 10:01 am

On an additional note, while rereading old posts, PI asked if the origional auditorium still exists, well that depends. First of all the space has been divided in half lengthwise, and the balcony and stage walled off to create the 4 screens. Second the plaster is soggy and crumbeling, one can see the plaster capitals on the pilasters in the auditrorium, but they are in bad shape. The two side boxes, if you could call them that since they were accessed from the stage bathrooms, (they probably were the organ pipe chambers), have been butchered up, and as it was walled off, I couldn’t see the processium, so who knows what shape it is in. From what I remember, back when it was the South Hills, the place had a Medieval/castle theme, but after my tour, I would say that the origional style was a simplified classsical look circa the 1920’s. Think a typical downtown movie palace, but with mostly plain walls. That said though, the interior may have been remodeled in the 1940’s-50’s and simplified, So who knows.

JOHNRUSKIN
JOHNRUSKIN on August 11, 2006 at 9:33 am

They are asking $300,000.

JOHNRUSKIN
JOHNRUSKIN on August 9, 2006 at 1:50 pm

I got a tour from the realestate agent the other day; the roof is leaking and most of the plaster is wet, the 4 auditoriums especially smell mouldy. This theater was origionally the South Hills Theater, whose single auditorium had a balcony that came down to the main floor, sort of an early form of stadium seating. There is a decent sized stage, (presently walled off), with about 6 dressing rooms, 3 to a side. There are several large office/lounge rooms on the 2nd and 3rd floors, two with large arched windows that overlook the mainstreet. With a lot of work, this could be a very nice theater again.

raubre
raubre on May 30, 2006 at 8:01 pm

Here are some pictures of the Cinema 4 (I think it used to be called the South Hills Theater as well)

View link

View link

View link

It needs some TLC, but can defenitely be reusable. I’m guessing the theater has been closed for about 5 years, since “Along Came a Spider” was released in 2001.

kingjohn
kingjohn on April 6, 2006 at 5:40 pm

Both the Cinema 4 and the Hollywood theaters in Dormont are ripe for revitalization. Dormont is a safe, established community (incorporated in 1909) with affordable and attractive older houses and easy access to the downtown Pittsburgh business community. In recent years it has been attracting younger residents because of these reasons. Yes, parking is somewhat of a problem but not impossible. The area is also incredibly accessible by public transportation. There are also numerous apartments & duplex rentals resulting in a high concentration of residents – who tend to patronize local businesses. Either of these could be a real money maker for someone with a little imagination and initiative.

MadMonkey13
MadMonkey13 on March 26, 2006 at 10:25 am

I was at that show as well. Savatage opened for both Nuclear Assault and Testament. I think that may have been the last show at the South Hills Theater. I pass the theater every day and it breaks my heart to see it sit unused.

rgavz
rgavz on March 26, 2006 at 6:49 am

Ahhh the old South Hills Theater. I had wonder concert experience back in 1989 when Nuclear Assault opened for Testament. Good times. A piece of my childhood died one evening when I doing the Dormont crawl and saw that C4 was condemned. Ahhh, good times.

dalesaller
dalesaller on February 21, 2006 at 6:32 pm

maddy33…are you the onwer of the theater….if you can, please email me details and condition of the theater and also your asking price…I am very interested in this building.
Thank you

piehle
piehle on January 26, 2006 at 9:38 pm

Is there a chance any pictures of the original auditorium exist?

MadMonkey13
MadMonkey13 on January 26, 2006 at 2:41 pm

It is the South Hills theater, and was until the early 90’s, I believe.

piehle
piehle on January 26, 2006 at 1:51 pm

Could this have been originally the “South Hills” theater in Dormont, Circa 1927-8?

maddy33
maddy33 on February 8, 2005 at 6:22 pm

If you are interested in purchasing this theater, pleae contact me by posting a message.

BLE73
BLE73 on February 8, 2005 at 7:27 am

i live a couple of blocks from this theater and the hollywood, both are closed and both are for sale. the cinema 4 is still standing and the other movies where blow and crocidile dundee does la or something like that

maddy33
maddy33 on January 20, 2005 at 7:53 pm

Please contact

MadMonkey13
MadMonkey13 on January 19, 2005 at 10:31 pm

How do you know it is for sale, and how do I contact the owner?

maddy33
maddy33 on January 14, 2005 at 1:19 am

This theater is for sale.