Manos Theatre

548 Philadelphia Street,
Indiana, PA 15701

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Manos Theater Dr. Phil Morris & Dungeon of Death

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally opened in April 1924 as the Ritz Theatre with 1,300 seats. It was renamed Manos Theatre 1935.

Contributed by David Stear

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

Barry1965
Barry1965 on July 14, 2002 at 5:50 am

The Manos Theatre on Philadelphia Street in Indiana was destroyed in the early 1980s. I don’t know much about this theatre…I did attend movies there as a child, it was a beautiful theatre and it was a sad day when it was leveled. On the site now is the offices of Indiana County Head Start.

Patsy
Patsy on September 5, 2005 at 1:22 pm

Barry: I was about to ask some folks I just met from Indiana PA about this theatre, but since it was leveled they will only have their personal memories. Too bad as Indiana PA is the homewtown of Jimmy Stewart and Stewart movies could have been shown at that theatre like It’s A Wonderful Life during the holiday season.

w3syt
w3syt on April 21, 2006 at 5:42 am

The Manos chain was pretty big in Western PA. The Palace in Greensburg has been beautifully restored and has frequent shows. We recently saw Patti Page there. I have a half decent xerox pix of the Manos in Monessen (rebuilt 1948// demolished a few years ago)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 7, 2010 at 2:20 am

The photo shows that the Manos Theatre was in a very old building. I would not expect a building of that style to have been built as late as 1928, when the theater organ was installed, and it could have been built as early as the 1900s or 1910s. The auditorium could have been built behind an existing commercial building, of course, but this could also be an earlier theater that has had multiple names.

Arcadia Publishing Company’s book Indiana, Pennsylvania mentions five theater names in the town, but is very short on both details and photos. It doesn’t mention the name Ritz Theatre.

There’s a photo of a theater called the Star, located on 7th Street, which was demolished to make way for a department store in 1915. There’s a photo of the entrance of the Manos Theatre in 1956. There’s a photo of the Indian Theatre from 1936.

Most interesting is a theater called the Globe. There’s a photo apparently depicting the original Globe, built in 1909, which suffered a fire in 1912. The Globe then moved to a different (unspecified) location. The caption says the new Globe was later called the Strand. What I’m wondering is if the Globe/Strand later became the Ritz and then the Manos?

Boxoffice of July 31, 1967, said that the Manos Theatre in Indiana, Pennsylvania, had celebrated its thirtieth anniversary on the 19th of that month, so it must have lost he name Ritz in 1937.

RSM3853
RSM3853 on May 7, 2012 at 2:54 pm

The Manos Theater’s closing was announced on September 24, 1980.

octobercountry
octobercountry on July 20, 2012 at 8:48 am

Just for clarification—-the Manos Theater building was NOT demolished. It still stands, but has been repurposed into standard office space.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 19, 2015 at 4:09 pm

The Ritz Theatre opened in April, 1924, according to this item from the May 3 issue of The Moving Picture World:

“W. P. McCartney, whose newest theatre, the Ritz, at Indiana, was opened three weeks ago, was in town a few days ago and stated that standing room only has been the rule at this beautiful new house. The Ritz seats 1,300.”
The building through which the Manos Theatre’s entrance ran is still standing, but is nowhere near big enough to have held a theater seating over 1,000, so the auditorium must have been behind it on the space now occupied by a parking lot. It has definitely been demolished.

This web page has multiple photos showing the house both as the Ritz and as the Manos.

According to a articles in the Indiana Evening News, W. Penn McCartney acquired the site of the Ritz Theatre in 1919. Plans for the new theater, originally to have been called the Rialto, were completed by the Punxsutawney firm of Powell & Justus in 1920, and construction was expected to begin soon, but there were apparently numerous delays.

Announcements of the imminent construction of the theater appeared in the newspaper in 1921 and 1922. Later announcements gave the name of the architectural firm as Powell Bros. (perhaps Mr. Justus died while waiting for the project to begin.) Reports in construction trade journals in 1922 also named Powell Bros. as architects for the project.

I’ve been unable to find any articles about the project from 1923, or from 1924, when it was finally built, but if Mr. McCartney was having trouble getting financing for the theater (the most likely cause of the delays) then it’s unlikely that he would have been able to afford entirely new plans for the project, and the original plans by Powell & Justus, perhaps updated by Powell Bros., were probably used.

An August 8, 1966, Indiana Evening News article said that Michael Manos' Monessen Amusement Co. took over the Ritz Theatre in 1933. A full page ad in the February 7, 1937, issue of the paper touted the second anniversary of the Manos Theatre, so the renaming must have taken place in early 1935.

hoser61
hoser61 on February 23, 2015 at 6:32 pm

My grandfather, Al Mercer, worked at this theater up until the mid 1970s. My mother worked in the ticket window in the mid 1950s & met my father there. He was attending IUP at the time.

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