New Castle News

Local News

May 20, 2013

Movie Memories, Part 1: Victor one of many long-gone local theaters

NEW CASTLE — If you ever found footprints on the toilet seat at the Penn Theater, blame Dave Kalata.

Kalata, a New Jersey resident and New Castle native, once worked at as a projectionist at the now-defunct North Mercer Street cinema, as well as at others around the New Castle and Youngstown area. But before that, he was simply a kid who loved going to the movies.

“I don’t know how many times I went into the Penn Theater for their Saturday morning cartoons,” Kalata said of the movie house that sat on lots now occupied by Huntington Bank’s drive-through. “They would normally empty out the theater before the main feature; maybe it was starting at 4 or 4:30, something like that.

“I would tell a couple of the other guys I went with, ‘I’m going to stay and see the other show.’ ‘But it’s going to cost you 25 cents,’ or whatever it was. I said ‘It’s OK, let me see what I can do.’ ”

At that point, Kalata would head to the restroom, enter a stall and stand on the toilet seat. He’d wait while an usher cleaned the facility and until he could hear people starting to enter the theater again.

“Then I would walk out and walk into the auditorium with them,” he said.


Chances are, if you were born anytime between the late 1920s and the 1990s, you, too, have memories of heading into downtown New Castle to see a film. It was an era that ended in 2003 with the closing of The Cinema, which stood next to the New Castle Beauty School on East Washington Street.

Others that folks still alive today may recall include the Victor, the Vogue and Paramount (pre-Cinema theaters in the same building) and the Regent, all on East Washington. Theaters beyond the downtown area included the Hi-Lander (the building still exists on Highland Avenue), the State (on Long Avenue, now the New Castle Playhouse), the Crescent (at the corner of Liberty and Madison avenues in Mahoningtown) and even the auditorium of the Scottish Rite Cathedral.

In Union Township, the Super Castle (where Walmart is today) and the Skyline (behind the Parkstown Restaurant) held sway with drive-in aficionados.

Each had a personality nowhere to be found in today’s generic multiplexes.

Take, for instance, the Victor.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • 01.jpg Photo Gallery: Church’s tradition of Easter countdown continues

    Easter is keenly anticipated by Christians around the globe. But perhaps nowhere is its arrival more heralded than at Independent Methodist Church.

    April 18, 2014 11 Photos

  • Mahoning Township sets spring cleanup

    Mahoning Township will have its spring cleanup the weeks of April 28 and May 5. Residents should place items at the curb the day before their scheduled collection. They should be neatly bagged or bundled.

    April 18, 2014

  • Vo-Skills.jpg VoTech team claims silver medal state honors

    The Lawrence County Career and Technical Center boasts a team of disciplined, well-spoken winners. The school’s SkillsUSA team, comprised of 21 students, stood against other schools from throughout Pennsylvania last week in Hershey.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Columbia Gas announces pipeline replacement work

    Columbia Gas has scheduled a pipeline replacement project for New Castle. Beginning this month, the company will replace approximately 2,800 feet of existing steel pipe along Eastbrook and Paper Mill roads and Cascade Street. The project is expected to be completed in July.

    April 17, 2014

  • ESB Financial reports earnings increase

    ESB Financial Corp., parent company of ESB Bank, has announced an increase in earnings for the quarter ended March 31.

    April 17, 2014

  • Author.tiff Arthur the author: Children’s writer/illustrator visits Neshannock Elementary

    A story about a grandmother and her granddaughter flying over a city grew from the vivid imagination of children’s author Arthur Dorros. “Abuela” also spurred the creativity of students at Neshannock Memorial Elementary School who had eagerly awaited a visit from Dorros yesterday.

    April 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Greer House changes name

    Greer House, a provider of assisted living services and care to seniors, has unveiled its new name. “We are thrilled about our new name — Clen-Moore Place,” said executive director Susan Leise, “because it better reflects our commitment to provide a vibrant environment where our residents thrive each and every day.

    April 16, 2014

  • Huston.jpg Greg Huston: Pirates pitching is porous and LeBron’s a phony

    The Buccos got swept this past weekend in their own personal house of horrors, otherwise known as Miller Park in Milwaukee. The Pirates will hover around .500 this year mainly because they do have some stars in Marte, McCutchen and Alvarez, and they play the right way with grit.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • 01.jpg Photo Gallery, Story: Students team up on paper pantry

    Food is not the only thing that sometimes is in short supply for those in need. With that in mind, students from seven Lawrence County high schools joined Westminster College sororities and fraternities Saturday in preparing a paper pantry for local residents.

    April 14, 2014 8 Photos

  • school.jpg Neshannock approves resignation, agreement, related legal fees

    The Neshannock school board accepted the resignation of business manager and board secretary Melissa Morosky Thursday. Morosky’s resignation is effective Wednesday.

    April 12, 2014 1 Photo