Rex Theatre

813 Gillespie Avenue,
Portage, PA 15946

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The Pastime Theatre was opened March 1, 1911. In 1931 it was remodelled and renamed Rex Theatre. It was still open beyond at least 1950. Like so many theatres of the day, it screened a good selection of films, and Saturday matinees for the kids was always a big event. It was owned by Stern-Hanna Theatres out of Pittsburgh.

Contributed by MikeRogers

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 7, 2014 at 4:11 pm

The October 25, 1931, issue of The Film Daily had this item about the Rex:

“Portage, Pa.— The old Pastime has been reopened by C. 0. Baird. It has been remodeled and newly equipped and its name changed to the Rex.”
The Pastime, which had been reported closed only a few weeks earlier, had this advertisement in the classified section of The Billboard of March 4, 1911:
“WANTED —ATTRACTIONS

“New Pastime Theatre, Portage, Pa. Seating 800, nice stage. Opens March 1, 1911. On main line P. R. B., between Altoona and Johnstown. Pa. Good show town. Write for open time, 1911-12. C. 0. BAIRD, Mgr., Portage. Pa.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 8, 2014 at 10:02 am

We list the Rex as demolished. Has that happened quite recently? Google has no nearby street view of this location, but there’s a good bird’s eye view at Bing Maps. The building looks like a theater, but there are gaping holes in its roof, so it might have been demolished since the view was recorded. If it hasn’t been demolished yet it probably soon will be.

SethG
SethG on July 11, 2019 at 9:57 am

Something is wrong here. The 1911 and 1916 Sanborns show only a small wooden house on the supposed site of the Rex. The Pastime was on Main in 1916. There was a wooden theater building on the site that later became the Pastime on the 1911 map. I don’t think the building on Gillespie was ever the Pastime, and was therefore likely not the Rex.

I think this listing should be deleted. The building on Gillespie did vaguely resemble a theater, but had a large old garage door in the center, with entries on either side. It was probably built around 1920 as a dealership or garage.

SethG
SethG on July 11, 2019 at 10:54 am

To add to the confusion, a newspaper article about the need to demolish the property refers to the building as the old Rex theater. I can’t link to the article, because of the idiotic spam filter.

The only possibility for this to really be the Rex is that shortly after 1916, yet ANOTHER Pastime was constructed on Gillespie, then closed for a while, then reopened under a new name in 1931.

SethG
SethG on July 11, 2019 at 10:57 am

If we end up keeping the listing, I will add a photo. The building was abandoned in 2001 after the death of the owner of Kline’s Amusement, which had been there since the ‘70s. It was demolished sometime after June 2013. It looks like the foundation is being used as a parking lot.

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