20th Century Theatre

3021 Madison Road,
Cincinnati, OH 45209

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Showing 26 - 50 of 54 comments

hanksykes on December 28, 2009 at 6:12 pm

I drove by the 1941 20th Century art deco cinema the other nite, the marquee was all aglow, but sadly the 75 foot vertical does not seem to have been lamped. It must show for miles when its functioning! Maybe someday?

kelbel1313 on October 27, 2009 at 9:43 am

Does anyone have any more information or know of any history of this theater? I can only find the basics and I need way more! Past employees, stories, history of the land, anything! I would appreciate it greatly!!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 31, 2009 at 10:24 pm

Leo Yassenoff, the Y in F&Y, was also the head of the Academy Theatres Circuit. F&Y designed and built the theaters Academy had built, and remodeled many that the circuit acquired from other operators.

I’ve tracked down quite a few theaters designed by F&Y and posted comments on their pages here, but the only one that’s been updated with the information is the Geauga Cinema. I think maybe I make most of my comments at the wrong time of day for them to get noticed.

A rather grim sidelight about Leo Yassenoff that I ran across on the Internet is that he was the great-grandfather of Dylan Klebold, of Columbine High School infamy.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 31, 2009 at 7:58 pm

NRHP’s web site is more reliable than many, but I’ve found typos and misspellings there before, and have probably failed to recognize a few others that I’ve seen. The F&W/F&Y mistake was easy for me to spot because I’ve seen so many references to F&Y in Boxoffice.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 30, 2009 at 11:42 pm

The copy from the National Register of Historic Places posted by Lost Memory on Feb 4, 2007, contains an error. F&W Construction should read F&Y Construction (known as F&Y Building Services beginning in 1942.) The November 9, 1940, issue of Boxoffice said that ground had been broken for Willis Vance’s new theater, to be called the 20th Century. Both the design and the construction of the house was being done by the theatre division of F&Y Construction.

There’s an F&W Construction Co. operating in Ozark, Alabama, but I can’t find any company of that name connected with Cincinnati. F&Y, however, designed dozens of theaters in the Ohio area.

The individual architect to whom NRHP attributes the 20th Century Theatre, Fred W. Stritzel, might have been working at F&Y during the period when the theater was built. After WWII he formed the Columbus, Ohio, firm of Alcox & Stritzel with architect Larry Alcox. That firm designed at least two theaters, the Livingston in Columbus and the 1947 rebuild of the Auditorium in Newark, Ohio. I’ve been unable to discover anything else about Fred Stritzel.

blgwc on March 14, 2009 at 2:28 pm

I remember as a kid going there in the sixties and after the trailers came a notice that said, “Stop Pay TV – sign petition in the lobby.” It didn’t work.

MPol on February 20, 2009 at 3:28 pm

Ha!! I LIKE that marquee! It’s cool!

blgwc on February 20, 2009 at 3:16 pm

Great time in ‘73-'74 when they experimented with showing old Hollywood double bills for $1.25. Caught a double bill of Grand Hotel and Dinner at Eight, Marx Bros., WC Fields, Laurel and Hardy, Big Sleep and Maltese Falcon, Giant, Busby Berkeley, it was wonderful. Then they stopped. It was nice in '78-'79 when they attempted a calendar theatre, too, but then they gave that up.

meheuck on April 29, 2008 at 8:37 am

Also, for those who saw the recent CBS News “48 HOURS” episode about murdered starlet Christa Helm, her ill-fated debut film LET’S GO FOR BROKE had it’s world premiere (and only public) engagement at the 20th Century in 1974.

meheuck on April 29, 2008 at 7:28 am

I could have sworn they had a ground-floor crying room as well – my father pointed it out to me when I was in middle school and we went to movies there. Although, that could have been the nearby Ambassador theatre instead.

hanksykes on January 17, 2008 at 12:29 pm

This crying room was generally located within the balcony area.

hanksykes on January 17, 2008 at 12:28 pm

I don’t know about a periscope, the crying rooms I’m familiar with were built like a broadcasting booth with a large glass window so seated patrons could see the film and loudspeakers within this seperate room carried audio of the movie. Hense only the other mothers with babies could listen to the flicker while the children screamed!

kencmcintyre on January 15, 2008 at 7:07 pm

They had one of those in the Los Angeles Theater, if I recall correctly. I think it had a periscope so mom could keep up with the film while in the crying room.

hanksykes on January 15, 2008 at 7:00 pm

The 20th Century had a crying room in the balcony area for the use of Moms with little tots who wanted to see a flick without annoying the patrons with their small offspring.

hanksykes on July 14, 2007 at 4:41 pm

An article from the Cincinnati Enquirer dated 7/3/07 says that Mark&Trisha Rogers who had leased the 20th Century for the past 10 years have purchased the theater from Mike Belmont of the Belhow Corp. for 1.3 million on June 20,2007. The Rogers operate the Habits Cafe ,also on Oakley Square, they will continue to run the 20th Century Theater as a concert,wedding,and reception venue, plus they plan to re-light the 72 foot tall vertical marquee and tower which was last illuminated in 1983.

hanksykes on July 8, 2007 at 3:59 pm

The 20th Century Theatre in Oakley was purchased by the leasees of that site and they plan to re-light the 72 foot tall vertical. Hooray, it will stand out for miles! More news on this soon.

hanksykes on April 10, 2007 at 4:00 pm

The pictures of Louis Wiethe’s Valley Theater 1949, in Roselawn ,a suburb of Cincinnati,Ohio ,look like his 71 foot aluminum pilon with oversized film reel may have borrowed something of a design element from the 1941 20th. Century ’s vertical, both of these structures must have been spectacular when lit at night.

Coolhand on February 10, 2007 at 5:16 am

What a gorgeous theater!!! Congratulations Cincinnati, you should be proud to have that beautiful theater!

hanksykes on November 27, 2006 at 2:58 pm

Just imagine the distance that that vertical marquee could be viewed from in its glory days as a cinema outlet. Wonder if it is still maintained ?

hanksykes on November 4, 2006 at 11:39 am

On the topof the 20th Century Vertical the pigeons drop seeds, the rains arrive, and presto a small tree begins to grow. From time to time over the years someone has had the joyous job of cutting down said faunawhen it becomes a redwood measurement.

hanksykes on November 4, 2006 at 11:36 am

The 20th Century Theater open in 1941 with the film entitled ,“Blood and Sand”, starring Tyrone Powers because Tyrone Powers was a Cincinnati boy made good at Twentieth Century Fox Pictures. I think the original,“Blood And Sand”, starred Rudolph Valentino and it was a silent.

pianoman on April 15, 2006 at 4:39 am

Well, a lot later, I did get a couple of pictures of the facade, but 1)not digital, 2)can’t REdevelop as PictureDisk.

TMO on April 21, 2005 at 9:06 pm

In the early 60’s they had matinees every Sunday from 1pm to (around)5pm geared toward younger audiences…~8 to ~15 yrs. or so.
Three movies; action, horror, sci-fi and/or comedy for about $1 (.75 if you were under 12). Not always the best movies and sometimes the bill left you wondering…“Snow White & The Three Stooges” followed by “The Tingler” for instance…but we always had fun and the best part, as with all “nabes” is that we could walk or ride bikes to the theater.