650 Pennsylvania Avenue SE,
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Once a truly fabulous Art Deco palace on Capitol Hill, the John Eberson-designed Penn Theater, which opened on December 27, 1935 with Errol Flynn in “Captain Blood”. It became an exploitation theater in the late-1960’s. The Penn Theater originally was one of two sister theaters, but the other theater, the Avenue Grand Theatre, which was right across the street, burned down in 1970.
The Penn Theater’s claim to fame is that it was the theater showing “Mohammad: Messenger of God”, the film which angered the Hunnafi Muslims so much they took the DC City Council hostage and shot then city councilman Marion Barry. The Penn Theater was closed in 1982.
During the mid-1980’s, the surrounding area began to be revitalized and the Penn Theater was converted into condos. Fortunately, but strangely, the theater’s facade was saved and became the entrance to the condo buildingretaining its Art Deco style past.
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