Hunt's Cinestage Theatre

217 N. High Street,
Columbus, OH 43215

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Showing 26 - 32 of 32 comments

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 6, 2005 at 7:54 pm

The RKO Palace closed as a movie house not long after Hunt’s Cinestage. It went over to live performance and concerts. The Southern Theatre was re-named Towne Theatre and, as you state, continued for some time.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 6, 2005 at 7:20 pm

Which was the last downtown first-run theatre to close — this one, or the RKO Palace?

I recall that the Southern Theatre continued with third-run double features for some years after all other downtown movie houses had closed.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on May 6, 2005 at 7:10 pm

This was built on the site of the 1,000 Park Theatre, a playhouse and variety theatre built in 1890, which was destoyed by fire in 1893.

In January 1895 a new theatre, named the High Street Theatre opened, which closed in 1914. Re-named Lyceum Theatre it re-opened as a playhouse but closed again in 1915. It was re-modeled and became the Lyceum Burlesque Theatre and this was very successful until it 1932, when it suffered fire damage. It was quickly re-built but without a balcony and re-opened in October 1932, continuing as the Lyceum Burlesque until 1935.

It then went over to a full time movie theatre re-named the Uptown Theatre with a seating capacity given as 735 and operating as a double feature ‘grind’ policy.

In 1957, Herman Hunt, a local showman, re-modeled the Uptown into Hunt’s Cinestage Theatre which opened with the Todd A-O widescreen movie presentation of “Around the World in 80 Days”. Other movies to play here were “Dr Zhivago”, “Sweet Charity” and “Ben Hur”.

With attendances falling, Hunt’s Cinestage Theatre closed on 19th April 1972 and demolition began on 22nd January 1973.

Proton on April 23, 2005 at 5:31 pm

I recall the really hot movies showing there exclusively so if I wanted to see one I had to go to Hunt’s. Problem was I hated the place. I have long legs and when sitting for any time, cross them, usually by putting my right anle onto my left knee. This was for some reason forbidden at Hunt’s even thought I never had a problem with it at any other theater. And usher would come down the aisle, flash a light on me and make me sit through the movie with both feet flat on the floor. So it was wait until the picture eventually appeared elsewhere or suffer through it in discomfort. And I was VERY careful not to scuff the back of the seat in front of me.

timcall on August 28, 2004 at 5:45 pm

i was the projectionist at the cinestage from 1968 to 1971 ,it was a hard ticket house running 70mm untill patton which fox was afraid to make to many 70 prints in case it flopped!i look back on working there as a privilege ,as was personally knowing mrs. hunt

Randall on April 19, 2004 at 12:07 am

Hunt’s Cinestage was originally known as THE HIGH ST.THEATRE, THE LYCEUM and then THE UPTOWN. It was not a large house (around 500),but hosted “road shows” like Around the World in 80 Days, Spartacus, Sweet Charity, etc. I remember the interior had a lot of blue. It was located next door to the Chittedan Hotel.

moviemad4life on April 18, 2004 at 11:20 pm

The Hunt family operated this theatre and the Hunt’s McCook in Dayton, Ohio. When the elder Hunt passed away, his wife ran the Cinestage and his daughter and son in law ran the McCook. The Cinestage was closed in 1972 upon the retirement of Mrs. Hunt.