Pitman Theatre

629 Broad Street,
Gadsden, AL 35901

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The Pitman Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Pitman Theatre opened on September 26, 1947 with Yvonne De Carlo in “Slave Girl”, and was designed by Birmingham based architect David O. Whilldin. In 1963, a ‘Hollywood’ type premiere of “To Kill A Mockingbird” was held for Mary Badham & Phillip Alford, child actors from this area (they returned 45 years later for an encore showing). The Pitman Theatre closed in 1983, and was willed to the City of Gadsden after its owner passed away in 1986. It sat vacant and in a state of disrepair until efforts to restore it were begun in 1997.

The exterior has been almost completely restored and work is continuing on the interior. The original lobby and projection booth are still in place, but the auditorium had to be gutted because of the severe damage it had sustained.

Current plans for the theater are for conversion into a multi-purpose community center.

Contributed by Tom Banks

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on May 25, 2006 at 10:51 pm

From hsvmovies.com:

Opening date: 1947/09/26

First movie shown: Slave Girl

The Pitman opened on Friday, September 26, 1947 (Slave Girl was movie shown on opening night), and seated around 1100 (other source said 850). It is located on the 600 block of Broad Street, and had the largest screen in Gadsden at time of opening, and had air conditioning and push-back seats. The theatre was erected and owned by Dr. H. W. Frank, for use by Aiga Theatres, Inc. (Charles S. Pitman was the head of Aiga). James E. Rourke was the first manager of the Pitman. The opening advertisements stressed that no outside screen advertising would appear on the Pitman screen, and that the screen would be used for entertainment only. On January 9, 1981, the theatre began to operate on weekends only, and closed in 1981. It opened for a one-week period from September 27, 1983 to October 2, 1983 for showing of a film series (which ended with Singin' in the Rain). The theatre was purchased by the city of Gadsden in 1986.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 1, 2009 at 11:09 pm

This December 2008 article states that events are being held at the Pitman, but seating is limited to 300 and there’s no way to control the temperature. A recent Google photo showed a weddding announcement on the marquee, so there must be a few intrepid souls who have booked the Pitman for their affair.
http://tinyurl.com/7uacsp

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on July 5, 2010 at 6:40 am

The city is moving forward with renovations to the Pitman to convert it to a multipurpose facility: View link and residents share some memories of the Pitman here: View link

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on July 14, 2010 at 8:15 pm

That is good news,very nice looking theatre,great marquee and vertical good luck to them.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 24, 2010 at 1:38 am

Great looking 1982 Marquee!

JohnMessick
JohnMessick on October 5, 2010 at 12:45 pm

You gotta love that marquee.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 11, 2010 at 2:46 am

Jan 8 1970 has “ALASKAN SAFARI” playing. With 007 coming in “ON HER MAJESTYS SECRET SERVICE” Jan 14 .

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on April 20, 2011 at 10:34 pm

Jan4 1955 Jack Webb in “DRAGNET”.It was also a Georgia Theatre in the seventies.

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