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Old 01-25-2010, 12:01 PM
 
Location: Mason, OH
8,705 posts, read 6,522,988 times
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Default Old Cincinnati Theatres

Let's get a little dialogue going about the old theatres in downtown Cincinnati, both those devoted to movies and those originally designed for other purposes.

From other threads, I remember the Albee, Grand, and Keith (plus the Times which showed mostly 2nd run films). I also remember the Palace, primarily from the days when it was converted to run the original Cinerama films. Then there was the Shubert, which is one of the few I remember going to live productions.

Add to this the Emery, where the original Mightly Wurlitzer Theater Organ from the Albee was re-installed. Rememeber this from quite a number of years ago when my Uncle was part of a group from GE Evandale which worked in the restoration. As he said, that old organ has more space aged parts in it can you could ever imagine. Latest information I have it is still closed.

Let's hear from you on what you remember from Cincinnati's past. I vaguely remember going to a Shrine Circus located in the block between the Shubert and the Tiimes, but cannot remember the name of the theater, though it obviously must have been large if it could hold a circus.
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Old 01-25-2010, 02:48 PM
 
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Default The Taft

Wasn't/Isn't there a Taft Auditorium downtown? I seem to recall seeing the Grateful Dead there in 1971.
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Old 01-25-2010, 03:36 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MiddleCincinnati View Post
Wasn't/Isn't there a Taft Auditorium downtown? I seem to recall seeing the Grateful Dead there in 1971.

Taft Aud. is still there. They have regular performances.
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Old 01-25-2010, 04:03 PM
 
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I don't remember too many of the old theaters but I used to ride my bike from Finneytown to the one on Hamilton Ave. in College Hill.
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Old 01-25-2010, 10:44 PM
 
Location: Cambridge, MA
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That would've been the Hollywood Cinema at Hamilton and Cedar! (5716 Hamilton Ave, to be precise.) I saw a good many flicks there too. But this thread's about theaters downtown.
During the brief heyday of the "skywalks," there was a Skywalk Cinema which was on the east side of either Vine, Race or Walnut St in about the 600 block. After Simon Leis ran XXX entertainment out of town, a former porn theater diagonally across from the main library on Vine between 7th and Garfield Place was revamped into a cinema known as "The Movies." For a while it rivaled the Esquire as the place to catch a non-mainstream film; I remember seeing a Kurosawa opus there. Their screen went dark before the '80s were over.
The Keith was no more before I could hold any memories of it. But well do I recall the opulence of the Albee, which extended to the multi-story-high vertical exterior sign. Each letter of "Albee" was filled with continuously blinking incandescent light bulbs. At night the letters would light up one by one from top to bottom before all five would flash and the sequence would repeat. More than once I was entranced by that display and had to be dragged away. The flat plastic marquees of today's cineplexes have nothing on their predecessors.
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Old 01-26-2010, 04:12 AM
 
Location: Pleasant Ridge, Cincinnati, OH
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Apparently the Imperial Theater (http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeyharrison/118631892/in/set-1670903/ - broken link) in Over-the-Rhine used to show skin-flicks before it went out of business in the 1960s. Before that, it was apparently a neighborhood theater that opened in the 1920s.
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Old 01-26-2010, 05:11 AM
 
Location: Mason, OH
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Quote:
Originally Posted by flash3780 View Post
Apparently the Imperial Theater (http://www.flickr.com/photos/joeyharrison/118631892/in/set-1670903/ - broken link) in Over-the-Rhine used to show skin-flicks before it went out of business in the 1960s. Before that, it was apparently a neighborhood theater that opened in the 1920s.
I remember the Imperial from the time you mentioned. By then it was very run down, but it was obvious at one time it was quite a grand place considering the architecture plus what the original interior funishings must have been.
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:21 AM
 
Location: Mason, OH
8,705 posts, read 6,522,988 times
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I finally connected next to the Shubert on 7th was the Cox Theater, which never showed movies. I remember attending a live show there where drummer Gene Krupa was the featured performer. I believe the Cox and the Shubert were demolished simultaneously in 1976.

On Vine St. was the Lyric Theater, which like the Keith on Walnut and Shubert on 7th, was originally built for vaudeville and converted to show movies.

Deserving mention is the Royal Theater on Vine, opened in 1910 and closed in 1979, making it the longest continuously operating movie theater in Cincinnati, though in its later years it was a pretty seedy place.

I also understand the Mighty Wurlitzer Organ from the old Albee has once again been resurrected and installed in the Ballroom at Music Hall, with the dedication concert held on Nov 29, 2009. You can see more on this at

The Mighty Wurlitzer Organ Comes to Cincinnati's Historic Music Hall (http://www.soc-pres-music-hall.com/wurlitzer_organ.htm - broken link)

If you have never had the pleasure of experiencing a magnificant instrument such as this, it is worth the effort.
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Old 01-26-2010, 06:35 AM
 
Location: Mason, OH
8,705 posts, read 6,522,988 times
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Found a great site for information on move theaters.

Cinema Treasures | Theater Guide

From this main page you can research theaters worldwide. Takes a few steps, but I browsed by location - United States - Ohio. Gets a little more complicated then since there are 799 entries for Ohio.
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Old 01-26-2010, 07:13 AM
 
Location: Far from where I'd like to be
25,152 posts, read 30,803,918 times
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I was a regular at The Movies. I'd love to see one of their old schedules again -- it usually took a better part of an afternoon to read over the whole thing. Didn't know it was a former porn theater. Heh. Spent a lot of money and bought a lot of Chip Wheelies there.

The Skywalk theater too -- movie, and then a beer and snacks at Scully's. *sigh* Another "success" of downtown revitalization.

There was a theater in the West End -- on Linn Street? -- that in the late 80s tried to reinvent itself with a combination of repertory offerings and mainstream second-run. Can't remember the name of it.
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