4361 W. 3rd Street,
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The Westown Theater opened on September 10, 1970. The theater was named after the Westown shopping center where it was located. It was the first movie theater that the Walter Reade Organization, a motion picture firm out of New York, had opened in an African-American community. Walter Reade Jr., president and chairman of the Reade Organization said “If this theater prospers as we expect, we will invest in similar ventures”
The gamble that they took did not pay off. “Our losses were drastic”, said a spokesman for the Reade Organization. “Some nights we played to three or four people”. The Westown closed six months later.
The theater was sold and re-opened on May 28, 1971 as a dollar theater. That lasted until July of 1971 when the Westown Theater closed again. Less than a month later, it re-opened as an X-rated movie theater. Showing adult movies didn’t work either. The Westown Theater closed again in October 1971.
After being closed for eight months, the Westown Theater opened again under new ownership and this time it showed family type movies only. It wasn’t long before the theater was closed once again.
The Westown Theater sat empty for over a year before re-opening on July 7, 1973 as the Roxy Theater. This time around, the theater showed first run black-oriented films like “The Mack”. That idea lasted until April 3, 1975 when the Roxy Theater closed again for the last time.
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