(New) Nixon Theatre

956 Liberty Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

Unfavorite 7 people favorited this theater

Showing 1 - 25 of 39 comments

rivest266
rivest266 on September 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm

1923, 1938 and 1950 grand opening ads in the photo section.

Article that RSM 3853 is talking about is at http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=aagcAAAAIBAJ&sjid=E2IEAAAAIBAJ&pg=7073%2C3502319

RSM3853
RSM3853 on December 28, 2013 at 12:01 pm

Ed Blank’s extensive and wonderful article, “What Happened to All the Old Theaters?” was in the Sunday, July 10, 1983 issue of The Pittsburgh Press. I still have the paper, although it is getting rather ragged 30 years later! But that is the date for those who have access to microfilms or if that day’s paper is available on Google News Archives.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on May 12, 2012 at 1:11 am

Here are two pictures of the the theater as the Aldine in 1935/1937:

View link

View link

Apparently the ALDINE vertical was removed in 1936 or thereabouts.

It is interesting that the building that is above and to the right of the theater’s marquee in both photos (essentially surrounding the theater’s entrance) is gone in the photo posted by lostmemory on October 29, 2005, and that a vertical sign reading NIXON was installed on the beveled face of the building across the street (to which was also attached the left end of the later alley-spanning marquee).

There are some photos posted within some earlier comments of the building that has the vertical NIXON sign on it indicating that that building was the theater, but the theater was really across the alley.

rivoli157
rivoli157 on November 12, 2011 at 4:55 pm

never saw a film here , but I did see one of the last legit shows to play the theatre. It was a production of Sabrina Fair, around 1975 or 1976. The theatre was quite empty the night I saw the show. Was quite sad when they tore it down.If I recall correctly the space sat as a vacant lot for a long time

James Kastner
James Kastner on September 6, 2011 at 6:09 am

Bruce,

Hold on to the Loew’s Aldine program. It is really rare.

Bruce Calvert
Bruce Calvert on September 5, 2011 at 6:42 pm

I have a theater program from the Loew’s Aldine for the week of March 9, 1925. They have a concert orchestra playing some music, and a couple of musical soloists. They are showing a newsreel, Felix the Cat in Felix Tries to Rest and the M-G-M feature The Great Divide.

atmos
atmos on June 16, 2011 at 9:42 pm

John Eberson did some remodelling of this theatre around 1913.

edblank
edblank on February 2, 2011 at 6:31 am

Thank you very much, CT contributors. I appreciate the kind words.

Aside to Lost Pittsburgh: I don’t think I can lay my hands on the story about what occupies the former drive-in properties, but I do have an original of the most commented-up story I ever did: A 1983 roundup of what occupied at that time the sites of many dozens of former Pittsburgh area moviehouses.

As I recall, the indoor theaters story led to the followup on what happened to the drive-in properties.

I’ll send you a Xerox of the indoors story by postal mail if you email me at and give me your home address. I don’t think you should post it here. – Ed

James Kastner
James Kastner on February 1, 2011 at 8:51 pm

Ed, In my eyes you were the Master of the movie critics in Pittsburgh. You turned your reviews into an art that I learned from. You once did an article that told about every drive-in theatre that was in the Greater Pittsburgh area and what had replaced them. I unfortunately lost it when I moved from my family home on the North Side in the early 80’s. How wonderful it has been to rediscover you on this site and read your wonderful stories again!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 13, 2010 at 12:16 pm

So true,Bill on 2001.My favorite of all time.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 24, 2010 at 4:36 am

Thanks, Ed. I find looking at the Pittsburgh Press online is very addictive, not only for the movie reviews but also the movie ads and TV listings. The ads especially make me realize that it’s not just nostalgia – things really were better back then.

Some of my favorite reviews were your review of “The Exorcist” and Kap Monahan’s review of “2001”. He really seemed to get it, and to appreciate how special it was, while most of my local New York City newspaper critics most assuredly did not.

edblank
edblank on June 23, 2010 at 6:37 pm

Hi, Bill. Thanks for your very kind comments.

I arrived at The Pittsburgh Press in October 1967, a year before Kap Monahan’s retirement. His departure created a space for me in the Features Department (entertainment and style/women’s/living pages).

His direct successor, though, was Tom Blakely, who had been Kap’s backup on theater and movies for about 20 years. I did TV & radio while Tom was Drama Editor. Then I moved over and succeeded him in January 1972.

I saw Kap at parties and picnics during his retirement years. He and Tom have both been gone for maybe 30 years now.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on June 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm

Ed Blank: I saw your name in the byline of many excellent movie reviews from the 1970’s in the Pittsburgh Press, available online for free on Google News. You’re really a fine writer – very entertaining and informative reviews. You were a worthy successor to Kaspar Monahan, who had quite a long tenure at the Press. As far as I can tell, he reviewed everything from “King Kong” (1933) to “2001” (1968). Did you know him?

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 6, 2010 at 12:05 pm

Different looking marquee type on the NEW NIXON covering the alley.

edblank
edblank on May 6, 2010 at 11:47 am

The second and final Nixon Theatre – this one – was named for the first. Neither had anything to do with the late U.S. President.

Todd-AO was inaugurated with “Oklahoma,” “Around the World in 80 Days,” “South Pacific,” “Porgy and Bess” and “Can-Can,” all of which had their Pittsburgh premiere roadshow engagements at the Nixon.

carolgrau
carolgrau on May 6, 2010 at 11:06 am

WSarner was the first Todd A O then the Nixon then the Fulton.. When the Fulton closed the Norelco projectors were still up in the booth, don’t know if they are still there or not…..

johndereszewski
johndereszewski on May 2, 2010 at 2:00 pm

This is a silly – though not an entirely irrelevant – question. After whom were the two Nixon Theaters named? I do not think this question has been addressed in the thread. Specifically, what Nixon was significant enough in Steel Town USA to have a theater named after him – or her? I very much doubt that it was Richard M.

edblank
edblank on May 2, 2010 at 10:47 am

The Nixon was still operating during the first half of the 1970s although struggling from the time the subscription series collapsed and the theater stopped getting major (true) National Touring companies.

In October 1975 the Nixon had a touring production of an all-black play called “What the Wine-Sellers Buy” with Bill Cobbs and Ron Trice.

The final production opened Nov. 27, 1975. It was conceived, choreographed and directed by Gene Kelly and was called “Gene Kelly’s Salute to Broadway.”

Its cast of 10 was headed by Howard Keel, Ken Berry, Mimi Hines and Lainie Nelson. Kelly did not visit with the production.

Most of the shows the last two to four years were threadbare productions, mainly “bus-and-truck companies.”

I cannot find a newspaper clipping to confirm this, but I believe the darkened theater was intact until after a final fire broke out in 1976.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 17, 2008 at 6:04 pm

Here is a page from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette dated 2/10/49:
http://tinyurl.com/6nfb7d

lcarlin
lcarlin on August 21, 2008 at 2:41 pm

My father’s cousin Leo is the ticket manager for the Eagles and another of his cousins Lex was the manager of the Forrest theatre for many years.

edblank
edblank on August 21, 2008 at 12:13 pm

Thanks, Leo. Are you the same Leo Carlin who is associated with the Philadelphia Eagles? I seem to remember you having an uncle in either Philadelphia or Baltimore at the Forrest Theatre.

lcarlin
lcarlin on August 21, 2008 at 11:15 am

Ed,

Thank you for your kind words about my father, Leo Carlin. I certainly remember waiting for your reviews following opening night. I believe I have some from “The Pittsburg Press” inside the Nixon programs (e.g., The Playgoer) that I collect.

I miss the time when the Nixon was alive with theatre.

edblank
edblank on May 29, 2008 at 11:17 am

A slight amendment to my first May 28, 2008, post:

Though the Victoria was the original name for this theater, it held that name before 1912. From 1912 to roughly 1920, it was called the Liberty for the street on which it sat. That gives the theater six distinct identities over three-quarters of a century.