5425 Reisterstown Road,
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The Crest Theatre which opened in 1949, was located in a shopping strip located at Reisterstown Road and Northern Parkway in northwest Baltimore. All seating was located on a single floor. Its wide screen was the hugest one of all the northwest neighborhoods including the Uptown Theatre. It was the theatre where the roadshow movies were shown during their neighborhood runs. These, of course, were the 35mm versions without intermission, etc. However, the large screen more than compensated.
I remember as a kid seeing “West Side Story” there. Later, “El Cid” was also presented there. I also remember seeing “A Shot In The Dark” there.
This theatre doesn’t get much a mention when theatres in northwest Baltimore are discussed. There is no mention of it in a site dedicated to local Baltimore theatres. Nor does anyone remember it here.
The theatre was part of the quartet of theatres along the Reisterstown Rd. – Park Heights corridor. These included the smaller Avalon Theatre, the Uptown Theatre and – although located in suburban Pikesville – the Pikes Theatre.
As a teenager, I remember a couple friends of mine who boasted they saw two great movies – one they saw at the Uptown Theatre, then took the bus up to see the movie at the Crest Theatre. This was during the James Bond craze where every movie studio was producing their own versions. The one at the Crest Theatre was called “Our Man Flint” starring James Coburn. I believe back then there was greater diversity in films than there are now at the multiplexes but that’s another story.
After JF closed the Crest Theatre it was reopened by an independent entrepeneur as a dollar house. It did not remain open very long. Additionally, during the years I lived in the neighborhood, local chain JF owned the Crest Theatre, the Uptown Theatre and the Pikes Theatre. JF and another local chain, Durkee, owned the majority of the major neighborhood houses. Although Trans-Lux owned a portion of the downtown houses for a while (the Little, Town and Hippodrome) JF retained complete ownership of all the downtown theatres.
An interesting aside is that the Trans-Lux theatres in spite of their sizes had an intimate feel to them while the JF theatres had the feel of a big house.
Again, if anyone with more accurate and more reliable information about the Crest Theatre is welcome to comment.
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