Harris Theatre

809 Liberty Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

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Harris Theatre - Pittsburgh, PA

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Avenue Cinema was opened September 14, 1931 showing on the screen “Der Foersterchrist” a German talking & singing operetta. It specialized in showing ‘unusual and artistic films from other lands’. It was later known as the Art Cinema. On November 9, 1995, the Harris Theatre was officially opened to the public. The Harris Theatre represented the cornerstone of the redevelopment of Liberty Avenue.

Located in the nationally known and locally resitered Penn-Library Historic District, the Harris Theatre was the first moving picture house in Pittsburgh to commercially show “art movies” until competition from other city theaters led to its conversion to an adult, pornographic movie house in the 1960’s.

The theatre’s marquee was restored, and the theatre seats 194 for movies and 178 for live performances.

The Harris Theatre was named through a gift from the Buhl Foundation after John P. Harris, co-founder of Nickelodeon – the first theater solely dedication to the showing of motion pictures- and a Pennsylvania State Senator.

Contributed by Charles Van Bibber

Recent comments (view all 22 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on November 16, 2008 at 6:33 pm

It’s not Pittsburgh here, it’s Google. Their microfilming or whatever they do is horrible. If you go on the LA Times database or Newspaperarchive.com, no problem.

Gerald A. DeLuca
Gerald A. DeLuca on January 25, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Yes, Gerald DeLuca (that’s me) still posts on CT. But I tend to specialize in cinemas of my area, the state of Rhode Island.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on February 16, 2011 at 7:33 pm

An article about the Harris with a picture of the auditorium: View link

SusanD
SusanD on March 31, 2012 at 5:58 pm

I’ve been here a couple of times. As part of PGH Film Makers, it’s a good place to see fare that’s just a little out of the mainstream. I wish they’d do something with the exterior, though. That blue still reminds me of its days as a porno house.

Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 19, 2012 at 9:17 am

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

ppherber
ppherber on March 16, 2013 at 8:55 pm

I checked out a few porn flicks here dating back to the mid-70,s. A few years ago, I went to a screening of the Vincent Gallo film Brown Bunny. The name of the theatre may have changed, but hard-core sex content in(some of)their features was still around.

SusanD
SusanD on July 18, 2014 at 8:42 am

The “Operated By” (chain) should be Pittsburgh Filmmakers.

SusanD
SusanD on July 18, 2014 at 8:47 am

A better website for this theater is http://pfm.pittsburgharts.org/

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