Arsenal Theater

4109 Butler Street,
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

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rivest266 on September 2, 2014 at 11:45 pm

First ad appeared on August 15th, 1941. No big ad. Can be found in the photo section.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2013 at 11:13 am

The original Arsenal Theatre opened prior to 1914, according to an article in the July 15, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World. James Clark, of Rowland & Clark, was quoted as saying that they built the theater some time after acquiring the Oakland Theatre in 1911, but before building the Regent in 1914. The Arsenal was later enlarged to 750 seats, but the article doesn’t give a date for that project.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 1, 2013 at 10:28 am

The original Arsenal Theatre, opened by Rowland & Clark in 1915, was designed by architect Harry S. Bair. I’m not sure if any of the original 800-seat Arsenal’s structure was incorporated into the 1,150-seat replacement theater that was built by Warner Bros. in 1941, but judging from the Boxoffice article Tinseltoes linked to earlier I think it unlikely. Perhaps the original theater should have its own page.

mattburgh on July 15, 2012 at 8:59 pm

…from the Pittsburgh Press theater ads, it appears that the last feature, “Mary Poppins,” was on August 15, 1965.

mattburgh on July 15, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Also – in the final years, I remember the theater having “bingo nights.” You’d get a paper bingo slip (I think they came with the purchase of your ticket), and theater manager would call the numbers on stage, prior to curtain time, or perhaps between double-features.

mattburgh on July 15, 2012 at 8:12 pm

Thanks so much for posting the article, the photos, etc., everyone. I do indeed remember this theater. Remember going to see “The Great Escape” there, Frankie & Annette, Vincent Price, Peter Sellers, and finally “Mary Poppins.” I was only in grade school when it closed, but the memories are indeliable. I remember the concession stand was actually inside the theater itself. It was like a small open hut. Next to it was a soda machine, that dispensed the soda into a paper cup. You had to drink the soda, before you took your seat. Tickets were purchased outside at the ticket window. You then proceeded inside, up the carpeted hallway (it seemed long to me, but it probably wasn’t), gave the usher your ticket, then went straight ahead through the doors. There, directly in front of you, was the concession stand. To go to seats, you simply turned left and walked until you would make a right down one of the aisles. We always seemed to sit all the way to the farthest left aisle. Never got to use the balcony. The stairs for that were just off the entrance hallway. Thanks again!

Patsy on September 1, 2010 at 5:55 pm

I just located a lady who remembers this theater as she grew up in Lawrenceville PA.

map351 on February 24, 2010 at 8:23 pm

Anyone have any pictures of the Arsenal Theater? I spent many Saturdays there watching movies all day long for 50 cents. I guess it was in 65 or 66 I watched the wrecking ball have it’s way with the Arsenal.


edblank on January 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm

Excellent, Chuck. Thanks.

kencmcintyre on December 29, 2008 at 6:47 pm

I think you’re right. PNC Bank, the large building, is at 4101. The next building is H&R Block, which is 4113. The theater would have between the two buildings, which is the parking lot. Looks like the theater has been demolished.

kencmcintyre on December 29, 2008 at 6:13 pm

Ed, there is a bank at 4112 Butler. All of the buildings on the odd side of the street, including 4109, look old. Are you sure the theater was razed for a parking lot?

edblank on May 29, 2008 at 3:23 am

I, too, found estimates of the capacity as being both 1,134 and 882.

The theater dates to 1915 and closed in either 1965-66. I got there only a couple of times – once when the Carroll Baker film “Sylvia,” partially shot in Pittsburgh, was doubled with a reissue of “Psycho.”

The last film may have been “Mary Poppins.”

The theater was razed and the property used for a bank’s surface parking lot.

carolgrau on May 11, 2006 at 4:49 pm

A long time projectionist who worked there, and lived in Etna, used to tell me they called it the Terminal. He said the lamps had an exhaust leak, with out much air flow in the booth, was hotter than the hinges to the gates of hell he would say. Always hated when the Business agent asked him to work there.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 11, 2006 at 7:14 am

Operating since at least 1941 when it is listed in that year’s edition of Film Daily Yearbook with a seating capacity of 882. It was operated by Warner Bros. Circuit Management.

Still listed as under Warner Bros. control in 1950, the seating capacity given in the 1950 edition of F.D.Y. was 1,134.