Marquee name: Pittsburgh’s oldest movie theater celebrates a century of film with a festival

In 1922, flicks were being still silent, and a lot of film theaters have been grand. The Manor Theatre was no exception, with its two-story ceilings, ornate décor and 1,500 seats, which include individuals in the balcony. The film palace on Murray Avenue, in Squirrel Hill, opened on Could 15 of that yr with the melodrama “Hail the Woman.”

One particular hundred decades later, the Manor is even now in organization as Pittsburgh’s oldest continually running motion picture theater. And it is celebrating with a specific week-long competition of basic films — a person from just about every 10 years it is been all over, from “Casablanca” to “Get Out,” and also, appropriately more than enough, “Hail the Lady.”

“It’s really an accomplishment to have a theater constantly functioning for 100 a long time besides for a slight closure for the duration of a pandemic,” explained prolonged-time proprietor Rick Stern.

Stern would know better than everyone. He grew up in Squirrel Hill and remembers “going there on Saturdays for 17 cartoons … and variety of spending the afternoon there, you know.”

In 1969, his father, Ernest Stern, and a cousin, George Stern, expanded their presently-in depth holdings of area motion picture theaters by obtaining the Manor. People had been the days just before multiplexes, when Downtown Pittsburgh had various film theaters — most owned by the Sterns — and lots of neighborhoods had their very own moviehouses, much too. For 4 decades, beginning in the 1930s, Squirrel Hill on your own under no circumstances experienced much less than 3 theaters.

Rick Stern joined the family small business following higher education, in the early ’70s. Apart from for a couple of years in that ten years, and a further extend beginning in 1987, the Manor has stayed in the loved ones since. Stern’s organization Stern Enterprises has owned the theater considering that 1992, and it has ongoing to show a distinctive blend of Hollywood fare and artier films, which include lots of independent and foreign-language releases that really don’t play somewhere else in town.

“It’s a whole lot of fun for me. It is kind of like a hobby,” said Stern, who also has been a prominent restaurateur in Pittsburgh. “It’s the company I grew up in, and it is variety of in close proximity to and dear to my coronary heart.”

Although it is significantly from the oldest film theater in the place, the Manor is one of an elite couple that have survived the arrival of tv — whose advent, in 1948, marked the beginning of a precipitous decrease in film attendance — together with multiplexes, digital streaming providers and even a pandemic.

The pandemic, of program, posed the most significant latest risk to the Manor, which like most other theaters was shuttered for considerably of each 2020 and 2021. But Stern states audiences have begun to return.

“We’re pretty lucky. We have a really faithful clientele,” he claimed.

Pittsburgh’s other previous theaters currently working contain the Hollywood Theater, in Dormont, which opened in 1925, and Downtown’s Harris Theater, which confirmed its 1st movie in 1931. Other movie palaces crafted in the 1920s, these kinds of as Downtown’s Loews Penn (1925) and the Stanley Theater (1928), ceased to perform as complete-time cinemas decades back. The Loews is now Heinz Corridor, and the Stanley is the Benedum Center, even though its initial illuminated signal even now graces one particular facet of the constructing.

Whilst the Manor’s distinctive, English Tudor-design household has altered tiny by the many years, the theater by itself has. In 1978, it was divided into two lesser theaters, and in 1992, Rick Stern subdivided it yet again, into 4 — both times to contend with the multi-display suburban theaters that have dominated the market because the ’70s. The Manor’s hottest renovation a 10 years back extra a bar, and the prospect for ticket-customers to consider drinks into the screening rooms.

The centennial competition will give audiences a possibility to revisit films that audiences would have witnessed during the class of the Manor’s historical past. The likes of “His Woman Friday” and “Singin’ In The Rain” will run in rotation with “The Godfather,” “2001: A Place Odyssey,” “Pulp Fiction” and “The Departed.” (The festival will consider around just one particular of the Manor’s screening rooms the others will continue to demonstrate latest movies.)

“You under no circumstances know when you will be ready to see some of these classics on the huge display screen once more,” said Stern.

For more details about the theater and the competition, see here.