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The theater became the Italian Ritrovo Club and in 1950 it became the home of Our Lady of Fatima parish. The name refers to League Park, Cleveland’s original baseball stadium which was a cross the street. Remnants of the ball park is still there along with a small museum, with most of the old stadium site serving as a public park.
No one including the normally developer-friendly county government wanted the Walmart, esp. after they opened a new store not far away, off I-20. The area to the North and East underwent significant gentrification in the 90s & 00s and the general area around the mall has been ripe for redevelopment.
So what became of the property?
By the mid/late 70s, the cinema was trying to market itself with niche films. I remember seeing Fantasia which had a long run there. One problem was the location—-not really part of Toledo’s major population centers. Nearby (and now completely gone) North Towne Mall had one of the most rapid declines of any of the “classic” dead malls.
It used the name “Variety Playhouse” as long ago as 1998, when I lived almost across the street.
The article is either inaccurate or that person was misremembering the Sound of Music, which was released in 1965. OTOH, the News-Herald has never been known for its factchecking.
A few random details—-the original Parmatown strip opened in 19655, the same year as Shoregate (as well as Southgate) and a year after Westgate and Eastgate). May Co—which was a huge branch opened in 1960. It was the west side counterpart to Mays on teh Heights which was across the street from an established shopping center (Cedar-Center which went up right before and after WWII). Higbee’s and the mall opened late 67/early 68. Forest City created shell corportaions for its various properties and allowed them to go bankrupt when it wanted to unload the properties—they did this with Shoregate, too. They’ve been offloading much of even some large properties like Tower City in Cleveland as they take on mega-mixed use projects in places like NYC, LA and DC—bigger, more prestigeous properties seem to actually be sold rather than bankrupted. Forest City was a lumber yard that became a home builder/developer and also developed shopping centers, initially, where they owned land for residential development. I’m assuming dave-bronx speaks of the Film Exchange and its owner whom I would guess probably had connections to organized crime—-not unusual in the Cleveland of the 30s-70s and in some ways not much different from what can happen in the legit business world—-I recently discovred that a much revered, wealthy relative had some price fixing issues in his background. The Film Exchange at 2100 Payne Ave still exists and is landmarked although the movie companies are long gone. A cousin of mine worked for Columbia Pictures there—during one of the takeovers of Columbia, she was cut loose w/o a pension.
Even in the beginning, it was a plain forgettable theater.
The original mall had an odd collection of stores including a couple high end retailers like Kelly-Kitt women’s clothing that never went into Great Lakes Mall. The larger mall was unique among Cleveland malls in never attracting really high end retailers. The lobby was small and I seem to recall lining up in the mall space for really popular films like “Young Frankenstein”. Doubtful that vandalism would have left to demolition—more likely the opportunity to repurpose the space. Mentor has survived worse than what you described.
The original 1971 twin theater was a conversion of a Kroger supermarket, which was done when the shopping center was enclosed.
Wickliffe isn’t exactly tiny—it would have had 15-20K people when this opened. The theater was one of the shortlived Jerry Lewis Cinemas. Probably lasted a year or so as that. The auditoriums were very small and cheaply done. I think it ran bargain second or third run features both as a Jerry Lewis and definitely as the Wick-Willo.
The Jerry Lewis franchises were franchises built around small, standardized layouts and automated systems that didn’t always perform as advertised. The earlier Jerry Lewis Cinemas were a littl lesss bare bones than this one.
Ross Hunter, who made a lot of schlock in Hollywood (Doris Day-Rock Hudson films and the disastrous remake of Lost Horizon) once was an usher here.
The address should be “West Central Avenue”.
The K-Mart opened in the 70s, before the drive-in closed.
The Westwood presumably was owned by the same owners as the Westwood, Heights and Continental in Cleveland during the 60s and 70s—same logo and films as the Heights & Westwood (the Continental went toward blaxploitation fare in its later days). Whereas the Cleveland theaters quit showing X-rated films in the 70s, the Westwood continued to do so. The theater anchored what used to be the shopping district for what was known as “West Toledo”.
This theater was part of an early suburban shopping district known as the “The Colony” centered around Monroe Street and Central Avenue which served and upscale clientele.
Bowling Green had yet another theater on E Wooster Street near I-75. The address was a long the lines of 1616 E Wooster. It opened around 1970 and closed in the mid- to late-80s. It was part of a chronically underperforming plaza that included a Great Scot super market and Gray Drug, along with a strip of small shops. I think it was simply the Cinema or named for the plaza (may have been College Plaza or University Plaza). I think it always had at least two screens. It tended to get 1st run films before the Cla-Zel, which spent many years as a low price, second/third run theater.
I’ll take a look the next time I’m in Cleveland. There was a long running bank that was either across the alley to the parking lot next to Podboy’s Lounge or the one next to Northeast Appliance. it was Second Federal (later renamed Cardinal Federal) and probably taken over by someone else during the S&L debacle of the 80s. There always were entrances to the parking lot, one of them just got larger once the theater was demolished. We always parked in back and walked along the side by Northeast Appliance. Access was possible from Lake Shore, but more convenient from Shore Center Drive (which is what ran in back).
The Pick-n-Pay remained a Pick-n-Pay until it closed. It’s now a new build Walgreens which probably has a footprint identical to that of the old super market.
The Shore’s one distinction was having a “starlight” ceiling with small painted stars that glowed in the dark. It was the only neighborhood or suburban theater I remember having such a feature. Even during the 60s, it was a second string theater which often showed double features and occasionally showed a re-release of something many years old. Then it began to co-book with drive-ins and then had a rather short life as a dollar theater. In my time, it was always considered “not as nice” as the Lake.
The Sears closed and subsequently was demolished and replaced by a Safeway in the 90s.
This building was not demolished after its closure, it was put to other use. I believe that the Euclid Avenue side was an S&H green stamp redemption center. That building had a large blank wall with a decorative sign that was probably 3 stories, which would be the sort of thing that would have replaced a theater. On the Superior side were several savings and loans, one of which probably absorbed the theater space on that side.
St. Clair & 105th was far more than a few blocks from Loew’s Park & the Keith’s 105th.
Doan’s Creek is what runs along MLK (formerly Liberty Blvd), through the cultural gardens to Wade Park Lagoon. Doan’s Corners had died out as a name for Euclid-105, but Doan still had resonance, and was on the Glenville side of Liberty.
The Yale would have been at the end of Yale Ave, where it met St. Clair, just past Liberty Blvd/MLK.
The Ezella was part of a small business district that included an A&P and a Kresge (one of the few neigborhood Kresges’s to survive their big store closing round in the early 60s). The A&P survived into the early 1970s.
This was known locally as “The Arcadia Drive-in”. It was on the very edge of Arcadia proper.
Loehmann’s Plaza is on the other side of I-85 on N. Druid Hills Road where it meets Briarcliff. Northeast Plaza was an old strip center rehabbed around 1998 and the theatre was part of the effort, along with the Publix market. The center opened with mainstream stores and gradually became a mix of ethnic/Latino and low end stores like thrift shops and pay day loan places.