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This recent article in the Toledo Blade says that United North, the nonprofit organization that operates the Ohio Theatre and Event Center plans to begin showing first run art films and documentaries later this year. The Ohio, which broke even in 2013, will continue its various live events with movies worked into the schedule.
The article also contains some information about the difficulties art theaters have faced in Toledo in the past. Toledo itself has been without a dedicated art theater since the closing of the Southwyck Art Cinemas in 2001, and the nearest multiplex still showing such films on any of its screens is Cinemark’s Levis Commons 12 in the outlying town of Perrysburg.
The Toledo Blade was so anxious for the Southwyck Art Cinemas to succeed that it published this editorial urging public support for the house in its issue of May 15, 1998. The editorial said that the Art Cinemas had opened “…about four months ago,” so the house began operating with the art film policy around the beginning of 1998.
Since submitting this theater I’ve discovered more about it. It turns out that the house at 330 N. Summit Street was the first Priscilla Theatre, and the one that operated in the later 1920s and 1930s was at a different location.
The first Priscilla had been renamed the Pastime Theatre by 1928, and the name Priscilla had been moved to a theater at 2728 N. Summit Street. There had also been an earlier Pastime Theatre in Toledo, operating at 1418 Cherry Street as early as 1920.
Cinema Treasures lists it as the Gayety, but it only got that name in the 1950s, when it became a burlesque house. Earlier it had been called the Guild, and before that the Strand. It opened at 322 N. Summit in 1920 or 1921. Another that opened after 1913 was the Hippodrome, at 224 N. Summit, which was in operation by 1919 with 645 seats.
Thanks for the list with addresses. I had all the names, but not all the numbers, and I didn’t know that the Regent was the same theater as the Crown.
I’ve been trying to put together a list of the theaters that once operated on Summit Street in downtown Toledo. There are more than a dozen names, but some of them are undoubtedly aka’s. There aren’t any details for most of them, but there are a few I’ve found addresses and seating capacities for. All but the Gayety appear to have closed by the early 1930s, and all have since been demolished, but Summit Street was a thriving theater district for a few years during the silent era.
The May 19, 1977, issue of the Toledo Blade published this article headlined “Pantheon’s Screen Goes Dark For Final Time As Last Picture Show In Downtown Is Closed.” The theater had shown its last movie on Tuesday, May 17. The Pantheon had opened on November 19, 1919, with the Lilian and Dorothy Gish feature Broken Blossoms.
The article includes mentions of many of the Toledo movie theaters that had closed over the years. The Pantheon was the last of the more than a dozen downtown cinemas that had been in operation fifty years earlier. The only theater still open downtown after the Pantheon closed was the Esquire, which was operating as a live burlesque house.
Here is still more information about the Princess Theatre from Mitch Woodbury’s column in the Toledo Blade of July 17, 1949. It presents information gathered by Martin Smith, a theater operator himself, who provides a somewhat different history than did the 1948 article I cited in the previous comment.
Smith said that in 1906 the Princess Theatre was a 300-seat moving picture house located on Summit Street, and was owned by Orra Brailey (the article uses the spelling Ora, but his 1966 obituary uses Orra, and is more likely to be right) who also owned the Columbia Theatre, a vaudeville house on St. Clair Street. When Brailey lost the lease on the Summit Street building in 1912, he moved the name Princess to the former Columbia (this house.) So the Princess mentioned in the 1911 MPW item was the one on Summit Street.
The column doesn’t mention the new Columbia Theatre that Mr. Brailey was reported by MPW to have been planning in 1911, so my guess would be that it never got built. Neither have I discovered the opening year of the Columbia that became the Princess in 1912. The column does say that, as the Princess, this house initially charged a top price of 25 cents for a ninety minute show, and raised the price to 35 cents in 1915 when a seven-piece orchestra was added to the theater’s attractions.
Here is another article about the Princess Theatre from the Toledo Blade. The article is about the reopening of the Princess after a renovation in 1948, but it recounts a bit of the theater’s early history. It says that the building originally housed a skating rink, then a bowling alley, and was converted into the Columbia Theatre in 1910. O. L. Brailey’s 1911 project for a new Columbia Theatre was probably what led him to rename this house the Princess.
Roger, the Valentine’s original entrance was on St. Clair Street, where it remained until the renovations of the 1990s. When the theater was renovated an addition was built on the Adams Street side of the building with a new entrance in it. The unrelated building the Victory/Metro Theatre was in was probably demolished ages ago.
April 22, 1916, must have been the date the house reopened as the Princess Paramount. There was a Princess Theatre operating in Toledo at least as early as 1911, when the July 22 issue of The Moving Picture World reported that O. L. Brailey, operator of the Princess and Royal Theatres, was building a new house on St. Clair Street. It was to be called the Columbia Theatre, but I can’t find any other references to a house of that name in Toledo so maybe it either never got built or it opened under a different name.
A brief article about the closing of the Princess Theatre appeared in the July 14, 1969, issue of the Toledo Blade (scan from Google News.) The house would close the following night, the paper said, leaving downtown Toledo with only two movie theaters in operation: the Pantheon and the Valentine.
Here is a photo of The Jewel Theatre which the MidPointe Library System dates circa 1920.
I rechecked the 1919 list I cited earlier and it also has the Diamond listed at 1520 Broadway.
There is also this item from the October 7, 1922, issue of the Toledo City Journal: “A resolution granting permission to the Diamond Theatre to erect a metal electric sign at 1520 Broadway; referred to the Committee on Public Improvements.”
That’s three to one against the postcard.
The Wisconsin Historical Society provides this web page about the Lancaster Municipal Building, which also houses the Grantland Theatre (the Historical Society page erroneously refers to the house as the Grantville Theatre.) Despite its 1930s Art Deco look, the building was actually completed in 1923 and had been designed in the Prairie Style by Madison architects Claude & Starck in 1919.
Louis W. Claude and Edward F. Starck established their partnership in 1896 and dissolved it in 1928. They designed at least two other buildings combining city offices and auditoriums; one at Mineral Point, which operated as a movie theater (and still does,) and one at Platteville, which might have shown movies, as it is known to have hosted vaudeville shows. The firm also designed at least two other theaters; the Majestic in Madison and the Fenway in Fennimore, Wisconsin.
The 1989-1990 remodeling of the Grantland Theatre was carried out by the City of Lancaster on behalf of AGT Enterprises, a company then operating two small theaters in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, who had agreed to operate the house under a lease, conditional on its renovation. The project included removing the last two rows of seats in order to expand the lobby to accommodate a modern concession stand. Later known as Star Cinema, AGT grew to operate 95 screens in nine locations in Iowa and Wisconsin before selling most of its holdings to Kerasotes Theatres in 2008.
The Metro Theatre was still in operation in the 1980s when it was renovated by AGT Enterprises, according to this article in Boxoffice of February, 1994. AGT also opened the two-screen Showboat Cinemas at Prairie du Chien in March, 1984, and the Star Cinemas a decade later.
Bway: No, the photos David uploaded do depict this Pussycat Theatre (the New-View/Ritz.) The old Monica/Pussycat on Santa Monica Boulevard had a much plainer front.
A 2004 press release about the Pallazeo 16 Tehatre can still be seen on this page of Dickinson Theatres' web site. The multiplex was designed by the architectural firm Gould Evans Associates.
AMC’s Mansell Crossing 14 was featured on the cover of the September, 1994, issue of Boxoffice. In addition, an article about the house starts on this page of the same issue. The multiplex was designed by the architectural firm Gould Evans Associates.
An early street scene in Hamilton, with Smith’s Theatre on the left.
The web site Lost Memory linked to says that the Cinemark Mansfield 12 was designed by Beck Architecture (the Beck Group.)
Although sometimes advertised as being in Mansfield, this multiplex was actually within the city limits of Ontario, Ohio, as is its successor, the Cinemark 14 Mansfield Town Center. What we apparently have here is a brazen case of municipal identity theft- or multiple cases, as Ontario isn’t Springfield, either. For that matter, “Ontario” isn’t even Canadian. I wonder what “Ontario’s” real name is?
Here is another article about the Alhambra, from the October 7, 1992, issue of the Kentucky New Era. It features a photo of the auditorium, though the scan is a bit muddy.
This item is from the August 2, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World:
“The Lincoln moving picture theater, 700 Jay street, Rochester, has been improved by the addition of a large balcony. Harry Wick, manager of this house, is well known among moving picture men in that city. Hundreds of children are included among the patrons of his theater. Mr. Wick is noted for continually introducing novelties at his house. Not long ago when he presented ‘Alkali Ike’s Home Coming,’ he wanted to add realism to the part of the scene showing the hero welcomed by the village musicians. Mr. Wick hired a band for the occasion at a considerable expense. When the picture of the band serenading "Alkali Ike” appeared, the real band, concealed behind the curtain, struck up a lively air, and Mr. Wick found his spectators aroused to great enthusiasm.“
Pages 85 through 89 of Donovan Shilling’s book Rochester’s Movie Mania features a number of advertisements and early programs from the Lincoln Theatre (Google Books preview.) One program advertises movies from the Kinemacolor company, which thrived around 1913 (the year they released their three-real version of War and Peace, which appeared at the Lincoln on November 22-23.)
The Saturday-Sunday, March 14-15, 2008 edition of the Kentucky New Era featured an article about Hopkinsville’s Alhambra Theatre, which had recently re-opened following nine months of renovations. The article can be seen online at Google News.
The December 27, 1913, issue of The Moving Picture World had this item:
“Alexander Brothers & Company, of Cadiz. Ky., have completed their new picture house, which has been named the Gem, and opened it to the public. The house is one of the prettiest in that section.”