Foster Art Theatre

2504 Glenwood Avenue,
Youngstown, OH 44511

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Showing 1 - 25 of 28 comments

anewtvshow on September 23, 2015 at 5:22 am

I remember seeing Mary Poppins there. But IMDB says that it came out in 1964. I couldn’t have been 4 years old with such vivid recollections. Does anyone remember when that played at the Foster?

STPOSEY on September 14, 2014 at 10:46 pm


I’m writing a book on the history of Youngstown, and I’m looking for anyone willing to talk with me about the Foster Theater of yesteryear. You can reach me at

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on April 5, 2012 at 11:45 am

Hello all,

I am doing a large-scale research project on adult theatres and would be very interested to hear from anything who either worked at or attended this theatre during its time showing adult films. If you would like to help me out, you can email me at .


Barbershop on November 14, 2011 at 3:42 pm

The Carmel Corn was on the left side of the building and Murberger and Lambert’s flower shop on the right. The Carmel Corn sold the popcorn until is closed and then it was sold in the theater. Joe Shagrin’s office was up over the Carmel Corn shop. The women’s and men’s rooms were over the marquee.

The balcony was a good place to sit with a girl. Especially as I had access to the key and could lock the door.

Barbershop on November 14, 2011 at 3:39 pm

lanasings2, I worked for your father, Joe Shagrin. He hired me to change the marquee. I got paid one dollar each time the films changed. This was usually on Saturday night with a new film on Sunday and Wednesday night. Sometimes I would get called to be the ticket taker and would get paid a dollar to take tickets. Best part was that I got to see all the movies for free. This was in 1952-53.

WayneS on September 28, 2011 at 10:26 pm

I am amazed the Foster is still open. In 1961 my uncle, who was a journalist for the Warren Tribune, thought it was time I saw a “serious” move" (I was a jr i HS), so he took me to see Ingmar Bergman’s “Through a Glass Darkly”. He was right. That was the first movie that had me thinking about what it meant for weeks afterwards.

wolfgirl500 on June 23, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Indeed it was Fred Childress, a very good friend, and the Shagrin name goes way back in Youngstown theater history, running a number of local theaters over the years. One I believe was associated with the Warner Brothers.

lanasings2 on June 23, 2011 at 3:00 pm

My Dad, Joe Shagrin, was the ONLY owner of the Foster until he sold it in the 70’s and it then became a Porn Theatre. I wish I had pictures of the inside, but I do not! If you are a movie critic and are reading this my Dad was very good friends with I believe his name was Fred Childress, the movie critic in that era.

wolfgirl500 on June 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm

Given the quality of films that ran in the Foster’s glory days, your father would not approve of what it is today.

The area around the Foster today is a war zone … murders, drugs and the like.

Would you happen to have any photos of the Foster’s interior?

lanasings2 on June 22, 2011 at 12:44 pm

My Dad owned the Foster Theatre and opened it the year before I was born. I sold popcorn and candy there as a child…….a long time ago! I am glad to see it still standing. I remember the Parker’s Frozen Custard. It was the best!

Youngstown on June 17, 2011 at 4:24 pm

The only film I saw here was Elvira Madagan. Mostly I hit the downtown theaters.

milanp on February 3, 2011 at 2:38 pm

You can see simulcast broadcasts of live opera at that hideous purple Southern Park Mall theater, Twinkletoes. There seems to be a new one every other weekend.

wolfgirl500 on February 3, 2011 at 1:10 pm

Back in the day the Foster use to bring in film versions of Grand Opera, and my Mother made a point of going there whenever they were shown, but saddly those days are long gone and if the truth were told, a person takes their life in their hands if they go there today.

milanp on December 27, 2010 at 10:26 pm

Mike- Unlike Youngstown, Cleveland used to be Loews-heavy (Loews East, Loews Richmond, Loews Yorktown, Loews Village, Loews Berea, etc.) But the last remaining Loews house (their multiplex at Richmond Mall) was sold to exhibitor powerhouse Regal a few years back.
That Richmond ‘plex currently has 20 screens. Ha!! I remember when Loews first opened it back in the late '60s with—count 'em and weep—one gigantic screen. Even after it was (sadly) twinned, the screens were still immense by today’s standards.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 27, 2010 at 9:53 pm

thanks milanp,noticed an ad in the Younstown paper for a LOEWS,but it never had a city.

milanp on December 27, 2010 at 8:56 pm

Jack- It would definitely be a blast to get together with fellow survivors who remember the glorious theaters of Youngstown (and Pittsburgh’s) past.
I trust that you’ve since moved out of the northeastern Ohio gulag?
Although I’ve devoted my life to movies as an art form (I make my living as a critic, and also teach a film history class at YSU), I sometimes wonder what it is that I love more: those magnificent celluloid cathedrals of my youth/adolescence, or the actual films that were projected on their noble screens.
I sometimes think it’s a toss-up at this point.

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on December 27, 2010 at 7:27 pm


At least some of us are still around to remember and comment.

I’ve read, with interest, some of your other posts for Y'town and Pittsburgh. Like yourself, I tried, any way I could, to get to both cities, and others, Part of it was the theatres and part was seeing the movies in their proper venue. One was as important as the other to me. People like you, Bob Vargo (Peter Wellman’s right hand for many years) and Wolfgirl should get together sometime to talk about the “good ol' days” in Eastern Ohio and Western PA. There seems like there were many people of like mind in that area.

BTW, FYU- Bill Petrich was alsoa accounting professor at YU.

milanp on December 27, 2010 at 6:58 pm

Thanks, Jack. Nat'l Amusements was the name that kept popping in my head—but I kept doubting myself because it sounded to much like Sumner Redstone’s outfit.
Bill Petrich (or “Petrych,” I’m not certain) was their major domo in the Y'town district. And yes, Cinemette is the Pitts-based chain that eventually bought the Liberty Plaza and the Uptown (the Liberty played UA product; the Uptown was a Universal baby). The original Uptown owner/operator (Steve Foster a Wellman disciple, who also ran the Schenley on Mahoning Avenue, AND the Foster at one time), sold to Cinemette in spring ‘75, eventually buying the theater back in fall '83 after they’d run it—and the Uptown Theater’s good name—into the ground.
Yes, the Foster was a grand, glorious thing during its art film heyday. And you’re right, alas, about it’s current porn theater identity superseding its illustrious arthouse past. Whenever I mention the halcyon days of the Foster (and Bergman, Fellini, et al), people think I’m crazy.

Jack Oberleitner
Jack Oberleitner on December 27, 2010 at 6:08 pm

A couple comments:

  1. The domiant chain, prior to Associated Theatres/Cinemette, was Cleveland-based National Amusements. National,under Mr. Petrich (sp) operated the Palace and State downtown and opened some of the first large mall theatres in the suburbs. Associated (Pittsburgh) operated the Liberty Plaza and Uptown. John Harper and associates bought the Associated chain in the mid 70’s usiing the Cinemette name. Following was a spree of theatre purchasing and building.

  2. The Foster was the main venue for true “art” films for many years. I, like many of you, saw my first Felini and Bergman films there. Occasionally the Foster would even present an opera or ballet-based film Throughout the 50’s and 60’s they maintained a postcard mailing list to “fine arts film fans.” This was the type of theatre that one usually expected to fine in NYC and the like. The real prototype of the art format house.

It’s a shame that it will probably be remembered as a porn theatre.

milanp on December 27, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Nope; that wasn’t it, Chuck.
It’s on the tip of my tongue—or computer keyboard—but I’m stumped.

milanp on December 27, 2010 at 3:36 pm

The closest Loews Theater to Youngstown was a Loews house at the Eastwood Mall in Niles (roughly a half-hour’s drive from downtown Y-town) that opened spring ‘69 (“Anne of the Thousand Days” may have been their first movie).
Loews twinned that Eastwood house in 1973, and within a few years they sold the theater to the same Youngstown chain that—at the time—owned virtually every theater in the area. Drawing a blank on the chain’s name right now: pretty ironic considering the fact that, like most Baby Boomer Ytown natives, I worked at one of their theaters while in high school.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 27, 2010 at 3:09 pm

Didn’t LOEWS have a theatre in Youngstown?

milanp on December 27, 2010 at 2:12 pm

The Foster’s glory days, unfortunately, were mostly before I was old enough to take advantage of them.
I remember they used to show a classic film (“The Seventh Seal” or maybe “La Strada”) every Tuesday as a bonus feature with their regular attraction. Can you imagine something like that today??!!
They truly put the “art” in “arthouse.”
During the mid-‘60s “Batman” TV craze, they did weekend matinees of all the old “Batman” serials from the 1940s. And I remember seeing a reissue of “House of Wax” there (in REAL 3-D!) around 1971.
The Foster also gets bonus points for being the place where I saw my first subtitled movie: Eric Rohmer’s “My Night at Maude’s” in 1970. I was 12 at the time.

rivest266 on November 23, 2010 at 3:57 am

This opened on December 26th, 1938
Multi-page opening starts at
View link

kencmcintyre on April 5, 2010 at 5:54 pm

It looks like the theater was working on having a site, but never finished it.