Penn Theatre

3414 Penn Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15201

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Located in the Laurenceville area of Pittsburgh, on Penn Avenue at Butler Street. My grandfather, Israel (Joe) Roth was sole owner of this theater.

I frequently attended the theater between the years 1937-1946. The theater exhibited 2nd run movies, with frequent double bills.

A diary of films for the year 1942 includes all films: feature, short, news, etc. I donated it to the Heinz History Museum (Jewish collection) in 2009.

The office and projection room were on the second floor, During my years of attendance the projectionist was a Mr. Mikloski (sp?); the ticket booth attendant was "Peggy;" the manager was "Walter."

A curtain separated the audience from the lobby.

My grandfather was very active in the management; he personally went to "Film Row" to select films.

Prior to WWII, his son Jerome Roth was active in the theater. The Penn Theatre was still open in 1950.

Grandfather’s brother, Morris Roth, independently owned several theaters in Pittsburgh outlying communities: Swissvale, Duquesne, Brushton.

Can anyone supply me with a photograph of the Penn Theatre?

Contributed by paul roth

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on June 25, 2010 at 1:31 pm

Interesting History.Paul,hope you can get a picture.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on June 27, 2010 at 11:55 am

Paul, interesting, your grandfather would be proud! If you think of anything else, please add it.

If you go to the Google Map and the street photo, it shows the buildings in the block (if it’s the right block) is the theater in the photo? If yes, tell us which building it is.

I don’t know if this is correct or not, but I found it was open from 1935-1955 and had 522 seats?

I also found a Penn Theater at Penn Ave & Butler St (which is basically the same spot) that had 3,480 seats?????? Don’t know what that’s all about?

Anyone have more info or photos?

CSWalczak on April 9, 2012 at 12:00 am

It is interesting that Pittsburgh had two theaters named Penn that would have operated at least for awhile at the same time, although, in a practical sense, I suppose it would have been difficult to confuse Loew’s Penn and this Penn.

Will Dunklin
Will Dunklin on December 23, 2012 at 8:52 am

David Junchen’s “The Wurlitzer Pipe Organ, An Illustrated History” lists the 1926 installation of a tiny (II/4) organ in the William Penn Theatre in Pittsburg, but with no address. Would that be this theatre? The facade looks more like a 1930’s design.

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