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The theatre was second run house for many years and had a fairly long run as a $1 third run house in the 1970s.
It’s last days as a theatre were sad, with few patrons. I recall seeing grade-Z horror films (from a different decade) not long before it became a roller rink and, yes, it was small for a roller rink.
The Shoregate Cinema has plenty of competition, but all of it consisted of older theatres: the first run Lake, and second run Shore in Euclid and the Vine in Willoughby, initially. Still, people would occasionally go to the Richmond, Mayland, Richmond Mall, Center-Mayfield, and LaSalle, among others to see films. The coming of bigger cineplexes like the one at Great Lakes Mall, the second generation Lake, the expanded Loew’s Richmond mall, etc. created new competition, along with the dollar houses like the LaSalle.
The shopping center was already there when the theatre was built. The theatre was part of an expansion that included Uncle Bill’s (later Cook’s/Hill’s), Kurtz Furniture, and a strip of small stores constructed in front of an existing bowling alley. I’ve never gotten confirmation of the “never had potential” story. The theatre did well in its early years—-I grew-up within walking distance. Shoregate and Parmatown were both owned by Forest City. General Cinema opened its first Cleveland area theatre at Southgate around 1964—it was the first twin theatre (other than a drive-in).
This originally was the Heights theatre and ran as the “Heights Art Theatre” showing foreign films and independent films during the 50s-70s. They co-booked with the Westwood Arts Theatre in Lakewood and, for awhile with the Continental theatre in East Cleveland. They also did midnight movies and showed porn during the day and at midnight. I recall seeing films as diverse as “King of Hearts” and “Behind the Green Door” there. Mitchell’s Candies, which was next door, still operated a a couple blocks down from the Cedar-Lee.
The Vine occupied an odd niche. It did not routinely get first run films, but it often got blockbusters after they had run in downtown Cleveland such as Dr Zhivago, The Great Escape, etc. They did not get films before the Lake, etc., nor did they routinely do double features. The Shore was the one theatre in this general area that did double bills and except for cheap horror films, they abandoned that by the late 60s.
It was a very plain theatre. It closed and was converted to a Kingdom Hall in the late 70s.
The Center Mayfield was a first run theatre for most of its life and started showing lower priced second run films during the mid 1970s. It was unrelated to the Cedar-Lee, which was an art house by the early 70s.
This was originally “the Lake”. It was part of the late 40s/early 50s development of retail along Lake Shore Blvd and probably dates from 1949-1951. It was part of the Associated Theatres chain. They sold it in the early 70s as they switched to multiplexes like the one at Great Lake Mall that they owned. It was always a first run theatre during its Associated ownership and was the nicer of the two theatres in the area. It briefly functioned as a $2 second-run theatre before closing and its later renovation.