Eastland Mall Theatre

Route 30,
North Versailles, PA

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Eastland Mall Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

If you think it’s odd that the Loews North Versailles would close after just 1 ½ years of operatation, then you might be interested in this forgotten theatre which occupies (occupied) the Eastland Mall.

I have little information on this theatre. I only found out about it when I discovered a photo of it from the www.deadmalls.com site. From the photos, it appears to have been a rather non-descript affair, tucked into a corner of the parking lot. The Eastland Mall opened in 1961, and the theatre opened in late-1964.

The Eastland Mall itself did not survive the competition from Century 3 and Monroeville Malls. The mall is slated to be demolished in 2005, if it hasn’t already been done so. However, from the Deadmalls website, it looks like the theatre has been languishing for many years.

I have no closure date for this theatre, so any information would be greatly appreciated.

Contributed by Paul Fortini

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

BruceVerish
BruceVerish on January 17, 2010 at 10:04 pm

Rick, I just joined this site and can’t open the pics from pitt.edu
Do you still have those pics? One of the last movies I saw there was One Crazy Summer and it was in the Big theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 5, 2010 at 3:06 am

Boxoffice of April 27, 1964, said that this theater was being designed for the Associated Theatres circuit by architects Liff & Justh. The finding aid for the J. Evan Miller Collection of Cinerama Theater Plans, which lists the Eastland, gives the firm’s name as Liff, Justh & Chetlin.

An obituary for Bernard J. Liff (he died in 2008) uses the plural “theaters” in listing the types of buildings he designed, but so far I’ve been able to find only one other theater project he was connected with. Boxoffice of December 23, 1974, said that he had been hired to design two cinemas for the downtown Pittsburg project called The Bank, which I guess would be the Bank Cinemas I & II.

A January 11, 1965, Boxoffice article about the opening of the Eastland (originally a single-screen house seating about 900) says that its projection room was equipped to run any process except three-strip Cinerama. It also says that the screen was only 40 feet wide, which seems rather small for even single-strip Cinerama, but as the house is included in the Miller collection I suppose it must have shown a Cinerama movie at least once.

Little more than a year after the opening of the Eastland, Boxoffice of January 17, 1966, said the the Eastland II was to be built adjacent to the original theater. The new auditorium was to have about 600 seats.

neurodistortion
neurodistortion on July 21, 2010 at 2:00 am

As of July 2010, the former mall site remains empty. Also, the Benderson website no longer has Eastland listed on its portfolio, so I’m going to assume that they are no longer connected to the site.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on July 21, 2010 at 2:53 am

Re: The J. Evans Miller Collection of Cinerama Theater Plans: the collection includes plans for a number of theaters that were designed but never built; it is one of the interesting things about that collection because it reveals some aspects of Cinerama history that otherwise would not be known. For example, there are plans for the Vogue Theater in Cleveland (which would have been a conversion) but what actually happened was that Stanley-Warner decided not to convert the Vogue but build a new, purpose-built Cinerama house, which was built and called the Great Northern. I would bet that though the plans were drawn up to build the Eastland for Cinerama, they were not executed. Roland Lataille’s list of Cinerama theaters, which I have found to be very accurate, does not list the Eastland, so it is highly unlikely that it ever advertised any film shown there as being “in Cinerama,” though it might have shown a 70mm print of some the single strip titles.

popejohn0
popejohn0 on April 6, 2011 at 11:09 am

I still live a few miles from the formaer Eastland Mall/Theater. As a kid, friends and I would walk to the mall to shoplift Playboy Magazines from the Thrift Drug Store. Also to see movies. First saw “Goldfinger” and “Fantastic Voyage” there (Raquel Welch still looks ‘Fantastic’).
My mother drove me, in our new 1968 Ford Country Squire station wagon, to see “2001: A Space Odyssey”.

Becca
Becca on April 15, 2011 at 12:46 pm

I have some exterior shots (also of the mall) I took of the theater back in 2004 before it was demolished. Last year, my husband and I revisited the site and walked around. You’ll never believe what I found—a lonely little mosaic bathroom tile from the theater!

http://www.flickr.com/photos/fuzzyproductions/

SusanD
SusanD on June 2, 2011 at 11:28 pm

I got a chance to view some of the photos on Flickr. Great shots.

Oh and I hate, hate, hate the new Cinema Treasures format. The old one was much faster and much easier!

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