The Hollywood Theater in Dormont is proud to put the “theater” back in “theater organ” for Pittsburgh. Through a partnership with the Pittsburgh Area Theater Organ Society (PATOS) and installation of their Rodgers 34E organ at the Hollywood Theater, our historic cinema is now the only theater in the Pittsburgh area with a theater organ.
Opened in the mid-1920s during the silent picture era, the Hollywood Theater ran feature films starring A-list actors of the day, including Gloria Swanson, Tom Mix, and Lon Chaney. The technology of the time did not yet allow for soundtracks on film, so theaters like the Hollywood hired organists or small orchestras to perform along with the movies. After the advent of sound on film in 1929, many theaters continued to include organ music before cartoons and other film programs. With the return of this musical tradition to the Hollywood, the Hollywood uses the organ regularly for short performances before films, at special events, and also to accompany movies as part of Silents, Please!, our silent film series.
The Pittsburgh Area Theater Organ Society (PATOS), started by a handful of organ players and enthusiasts in 1970, is a non-profit organization devoted to the preservation of theater organs and the music they create. Since then, the Society has “rescued” a genuine 1926 Wurlitzer pipe organ from a storage location in New York, and following a complete restoration and expansion effort, it now resides in the Keystone Oaks High School auditorium where it sees use several times each year for programs offered to the public.
Please check our calendar for upcoming theater organ performances!