Garden Theatre

114 S. Allen Street,
State College, PA 16801

Unfavorite 1 person favorited this theater

Garden Theatre

Opened in 1912, The Nittany Theatre was a Stanley-Warner theater in the early-1970’s. It was closed in 1972.

It was reopened as the Garden Theatre on October 26, 1973. The theatre suffered an arson attacj in 1980, and repairs were carried out, reopening in January 1981. The Garden Theatre was closed in January 1986.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 9 comments)

kencmcintyre on October 13, 2007 at 7:09 pm

Lost Memory has noted that there may be an AKA of the Garden Theater for this addition.

kencmcintyre on October 13, 2007 at 7:14 pm

There is a clothing store called PS Zoo at this address now. Presumably this is a new building, but I can’t say with certainty.

mrtim on June 21, 2008 at 11:52 pm

Opened in 1912, The Nittany ended it’s life as The Garden in January of 1986. The building currently housing PS Zoo is the original structure. A wooden riser was built to level the auditorium floor and the balcony is used as stock/office space. It probably wouldn’t take much to make it a theatre again, but with the stunning revival of The State, that’s a moot point. Memory’s a bit hazy, but the theatre operated as the Nittany until well into the 1960’s or 70’s. It was damaged in a fire in the early 1980’s, which I believe began in the apartments above the theatre space. Renovated for the final time, it had Marietta Theatre seats on the main floor and another 35-50 on the very small balcony. Balcony seating was split to the right and left of the booth and the restrooms were located on the balcony as well. There was no office or stockroom, just a closet tucked under the right hand balcony stairs. In early 1986, The Garden was the first of three downtown single screens to be closed by Pittsburgh based Cinemette Theaters. The Screening Room on Frazer Street, just around the corner from The Garden, closed in April 1986, the Flick on South Atherton closed in June or July. Neither the Screening Room or the Flick was a great loss, both were 100 seat houses, mainly used as moveover screens for The State, The Cinema 1&2, and The Movies. The three closed singles were replaced by multiplexing the Cinemas 1&2 into the Cinema 5 that same year. All gone now, except the State. Cinemette had a complete hold on the theatre business in State College in the early 1980’s. Initially owning only the Flick and The Cinemas, they purchased the other four houses from a local operator in 1981-82.Despite Cinemette’s inability to run these theatres at a profit, I have nothing but good memories of working in the downtown State College theatres while a Penn State student from 1980-1986.

robitude on November 17, 2009 at 8:26 am

The Nittany Theater building is now occupied by an M&T Bank building. The facade looks like it’s been beautifully restored – it probably looks about as good now as it ever has. There is a historical society placard on the front of the building that identifies its heritage as this theater.

kagami101 on April 1, 2013 at 7:04 pm

Saw several movies there as a kid. Not a great theater but not a bad one. It did have a balcony but it was usually closed because people would go up there and throw stuff down on the audience. I moved to the area in 1972 and only remember at as “The Garden”.

FondMemories on June 10, 2013 at 3:43 pm

I remember it as The Garden – one of many downtown theaters during the moviegoer’s heaven that coincided with my college education.

rdimucci on October 16, 2016 at 3:40 am

In the mid-1960s, the Nittany was a first run house. In April 1966, it was showing “The Sound of Music” on a reserved-seat basis. By 1969, the Nittany was showing mainly foreign films. In January it was “Morgan” (1966) and Joseph Losey’s “Accident” (1967), in what it called a “Critics Choice” film festival. In March, it was Alain Renais' “La Guerre est Finie” (1966).

But by April 1969, the Nittany was showing mainly adult films, starting with the X-rated “Inga” from Sweden, continuing with Russ Myer’s “Vixen” and a steady stream of others. A few adult “art” films, such as Ingmar Bergman’s R-rated “Shame” (1968) also appeared. But these soon disappeared in favor of X-rated and unrated fare. The Nittany closed down during the summer of 1972. At that point, Stanley-Warner moved its adult film operation to the larger State Theatre, where “Deep Throat” played in September 1972.

The Nittany re-opened as The Garden Theatre on October 26, 1973 with a double feature of “Extreme Close-Up” (1973) and “The Boys In the Band” (1970). The Garden Theatre was damaged by a fire attributed to arson on January 28, 1980 and reopened after repairs in January 1981. The Garden closed in January 1986. At the time, the building was owned by Sidney Friedman of State College and leased by Cinemette Corporation.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment

Subscribe Want to be emailed when a new comment is posted about this theater?
Just login to your account and subscribe to this theater