By Loren Smith | Staff Writer
Found in the Pittsburgh suburb of Dormont, The Hollywood Theater is a little-known 1920s movie theater that specializes in different varieties of film. This quaint little theater has been giving people a memorable movie-watching experience for the past 90 years, offering everything from classic and seasonal films, to new releases and other special events.
Looking for something unique to do this Halloween? October has so far seen the theater showing various horror films, and it still has plenty remaining to be shown for the last couple of days of the month. Screening classics from “Young Frankenstein” to “Nosferatu,” The Hollywood has certainly done its part in getting people into the Halloween spirit.
The single-screen theater, which opened in 1926 and is run by the non-profit organization Friends of The Hollywood Theater, has quite an old-fashioned feel to it. With numerous ornate features decorating the theater, it is complete with nearly 300 seats, two grand staircases leading to a balcony and a concession stand with unique items, including glass bottles of Coke and homemade Christmas cookies. The theater also accompanies live music with certain films and, according to The Hollywood’s website, “is now the only theater in the Pittsburgh area with a theater organ.”
On Oct. 27, The Hollywood will be featuring the 1978 slasher “Halloween” on the big screen, both restored and remastered, and will also have 1968’s “Night of the Living Dead” on Oct. 29. Seeing these films in the theater is a rare opportunity and a perfect pre-Halloween celebration. It will also be showing some recent releases, with the 2016 thriller “The Girl on the Train” playing from Oct. 28 to Nov. 3.
The Hollywood presents “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” every other Saturday night, including Oct. 28 and 29. This cult classic, which features stars such as Tim Curry and Meat Loaf, intertwines both comedy and horror to become an easily enjoyable midnight movie. The Hollywood’s screening even includes a live shadow cast by Pittsburgh’s official “Rocky Horror” shadow cast, The Junior Chamber of Commerce Players, who perform the movie in front of the screen while it’s playing. The JCCP also sells audience participation goodie bags, which contribute to the overall peculiar experience of “Rocky Horror.”
Looking ahead, the theater will also be showing several Christmas classics in November and December, including “Miracle on 34th Street,” “White Christmas” and “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Since these films are also rarities when it comes to being shown on the big screen, you definitely won’t want to pass up on grabbing a ticket and cup of hot chocolate to settle in for these exclusive showings.
In addition to regular screenings, The Hollywood offers various special events such as “Breakfast and a Movie,” which gives viewers the opportunity to eat breakfast while watching a classic movie for only $15 per ticket. Only one is featured per month, so watch out for these unique experiences.
For a really classy experience, you can also see a variety of different silent films at the theater, including a series by the 1920s director Buster Keaton. “Faust,” the 1926 silent film by F. W. Murnau based on the classic German legend, is being shown on Dec. 4 and will be accompanied with live music by Richard Nicol and Steve Rightnour.
Theaters like the Hollywood are becoming more and more rare, making it well worth the $6-$15 cost of tickets which can be purchased either at the theater or on its website. The Dormont theater certainly offers a special movie-viewing experience unlike any in Pittsburgh, and you’ll definitely want to consider visiting it the next time you want a more unique movie night experience.