Village Theatre

700 Fort Couch Road,
Pittsburgh, PA 15241

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Showing 17 comments

rivest266 on September 12, 2014 at 7:11 pm

July 19th, 1966 grand opening ad in photo section.

glndrsn21 on November 20, 2013 at 7:26 pm

I have some pictures. I’ll dig them out soon.

glndrsn21 on November 20, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Great theater. Century 35/70 projectors. Separate Simplex projector for trailers if you were running 70. Huge picture window for projectionist to keep an eye on the picture. Back in the day, S/W was the #1 class operation. Projection angle was 3 degrees at most.

WarnerChatham on August 21, 2012 at 8:08 pm

Does anyone have any old pictures of the original theatre that they could post?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 25, 2010 at 6:14 pm

“ROLLERCOASTER” with George Segal was in Sensurround.

SusanD on May 25, 2010 at 3:20 pm

I think I saw the early 90s version of “Dracula” here.

carolgrau on November 9, 2009 at 10:32 pm

I remember the brains of Cinemette had the construction crews knock out the walls for exit doors while people were sitting in the theatres watching the movies, all the daylight poured in and managment could'nt understand thier problems and complaints. DAH

Cliff Carson
Cliff Carson on July 14, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Was this the theatre in the parking lot outside the mall? I saw EARTHQUAKE there too. The first film I saw at this theatre (and it ran for quite a while) was LOST HORIZON in 1973. It was a wonderful movie going experience and a great theater to see a BIG film in. I also remember seeing the re-release of MARY POPPINS in this theatre.

Another Village Theater . .

Cliff Carson
Cliff Carson on July 14, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Was this the theatre in the parking lot outside the mall? I saw EARTHQUAKE there too. The first film I saw at this theatre (and it ran for quite a while) was LOST HORIZON in 1973. It was a wonderful movie going experience and a great theater to see a BIG film in. I also remember seeing the re-release of MARY POPPINS in this theatre.

Another Village Theater . .

rivest266 on December 2, 2008 at 8:26 pm

I have found the grand opening announcement with a picture of the theatre on July 19th, 1966 at
View link

edblank on May 29, 2008 at 3:14 pm

The theater is in Bethel Park. The nearby South Hills Village is part Bethel and part Upper St. Clair.

The capacity of this theater was 1,303 when it was the glorious, stylish one-screen Village.

When chopped up into five auditoriums, the seats in some auditoriums were not re-aligned to conform to the installation/angles of the five new, smaller screens, and so patrons of Village 5 sat at slightly skewed angles in at least four of the five auditoriums.

The original one-screen auditorium was for a few years the nicest second-run theater in Western Pennsylvania, I think.

A sign of the changing times occurred ominously in 1970 when the first-run Chatham Cinema Downtown/Uptown did terrific business for 14 weeks with “Airport.” The picture was still doing major holdover business when Universal yanked it to give it to a few suburban theaters including the Village. When the Village outdrew the biggest of the 14 weeks at the Chatham, the writing was on the wall: Movies, even pictures that have been playing for 14 weeks Downtown, could do better in the posh new suburban houses. We all know how booking patterns shifted dramatically in the years that followed, sealing the fates of the Downtown first-run theaters and then closing them one by one.

Ironically, the rush to open more screens in the suburbs led to the chopping up of some of the nice houses, including the Village, that had made “Airport” so attractive there.

sydneybird on July 29, 2007 at 12:32 pm

Before finding this listing this is what my memories contained from 30 years ago. I remember this theater as a modern (for 1970’s) big box, huge 70mm widescreen shallow-curved screen with a grand moving curtain.

For the most part, The Village would get the movies after the downtown theaters where done with the first runs. Occasionally it would get first runs, such as follow-ons to “The Love Bug”. I remember this vividly as my dad was a VW salesman at McMillan and Beaer VW and they displayed VW Beetles in the lobby during the runs.

If the Warner downtown had almost 2000 seats, the Village must have had 4000 (so much for memories; was the Warner downtown really that big, even with the balcony?). The Village just seemed huge to me as compared with the Warner downtown, maybe because of the Warner downtown’s projection booth was smack in the middle of the auditorium blocking the sightline across the audience. The Village didn’t have a balcony.

The Village got “Earthquake” with Sensurround after the Warner downtown was done with it. I saw it at both and was more scared that the old Warner downtown was going to crumble around me. The Village Sensurround experience was not as powerful in the huge theater which had about 20 people in it when I saw the movie as compared with the Warner downtown which was filled to capacity. With the Sensurround speakers installed, the Village also got “Rollercoaster” (I think), and “Battlestar Galactica” (for sure) which were ok Sensurround experiences, which were the only reasons to go to these movies. Midway and Earthquake were the best of the Sensurround movies IMO, giving Midway the edge for the shear number of earth-shaking rumbles.

I remember going up to the big horns of the Sensurround speakers at the front of the theater and the two back speaker enclosure horns that were mounted on the backs of the rear seats to gawk in amazement that the horns were as big as me. Darn if I should have known to sit right in front of the speaker horns, but I wanted the center of the screen experience because the screen was so huge.

The other comments really did bring back memories of the amazement of those dual curtains opening, the curved one seeming to go on forever wrapping around the front of the audience in a huge arc. I recall that it would take at least 30 seconds for that curtain to open. If I recall correctly, the curtain would open part way for the 35mm previews, then close, before the grand opening of the curtain to reveal the huge grander of the widescreen. I really miss curtain openings, but I really miss those huge screens. People born after 1975 have no clue what a movie-going experience is.

That is so cool that this was actually built to be a Cinerama theater. That would have been great and I would guess would have been the largest one ever built. Boy I wish we had screen dimensions.

I really liked the Village and am glad I left Pittsburgh before the conversion to five screens. You can only imagine the shear size of this theater if you could put 5 little ones in the same four walls.

dave-bronx™ on January 7, 2007 at 10:50 am

The Village opened in 1966.

71dude on October 30, 2006 at 8:30 pm

The original theater was converted into a five screens in December 1982 and lasted until August 1997. The 10-screen Carmike theater replaced it in July 1998.

oldmovieman on May 8, 2006 at 1:19 am

Yep, RKO Stanley Warner build this beauty. It was meant for Cinerama and that gold curtain was majestic. Again, Cinemmette gots it hands on it and wam…distroyed…everything that company touched. Management was so poor and just ignorant I remmeber. South Hills Village Mall was the in place to be and lasted a long time. Still there, but not what it once was, as is anything any more. Good to see the Cinemmette gang all gone from Pittsburgh, they deserve to be.

TomBryant on November 22, 2004 at 5:10 pm

The Stanley-Warner Village was originally intended to be a Cinerama house – it had an enormous flat screen behind a gold traveler but also featured a curved contour curtain behind which would be the Cinerama screen. The booth was equipped with 70mm equipment. It was very impressive to see the outer curtain open to reveal yet a second set of curtains. Unfortunately, Cinerama was on the way out by the time the Village opened (it had a hard ticket box office behind a removable display case in the outer lobby – next to the regular boxoffice – that was never used.