2925 Westchester Avenue,
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The Pilgrim Theatre in the Pelham Bay section of the Bronx, was the first theatre I went to as a small child. I especially remember the films I saw there in the winter of 1946 through summer 1948 (when my family moved upstate to Westchester County).
The theatre was located on Westchester Avenue right below the elevated train station. It shared those wonderful aromas of popcorn, an ‘air cooled’ environment and something I can’t define that came with all local movie house ‘back then’.
The admission booth stood by itself outside the lobby and was surrounded by glass showcases which housed three sheets, one sheets lobby cards and still pictures of the two features which were currently playing and upcoming attractions.
Saturday’s matinees were special for us. I guess I had just turned seven years old and there were several of us from ‘the block’ who would walk the six or seven blocks by ourselves to the movie house.
The schedule for a Saturday matinee would include several cartoons, a newsreel, a serial (I especially remember “The Crimson Ghost” with Charles Quigley, Linda Stirling and Clayton Moore—of course I didn’t know their names then!) several previews of coming attractions —Sunday/Monday/Tuesday in sparkling letters, and then a double feature—-I especially remember two films— “The Brasher Doubloon” with George Montgomery, and Nancy Guild which played with “Miracle on 34th Street”, and “The Walls Came Tumbling Down” with Lee Bowman and Marguerite Chapman.
The manager always was dressed in suit and bow-tie and the ushes wore fancy uniforms.
The Pilgrim Theatre was still listed in the 1957 edition of Film Daily Yearbook. When I took a memory lane visit several years ago I found that the Pilgrim Theatre had been converted into a bingo hall…and was totally closed down.
The Pilgrim Theatre contains some of my finest memories of my early years.
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