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I went to the Variety only twice, once in 1965 to see “Two on a Guillotine” and a second feature whose title escapes me, and ten years later to see “Tommy” in its second run. Nice theater but nothing special if I recall.
Chuck1231, I’m pretty sure the evening photo of the Detroit that you have linked here was taken sometime between December 1969 and March 1970 because the attraction is “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service,” which played the Detroit at that time. P.S. Thanks for the photo.
I went to the Palace only once, long after its days of glories were behind it. It was two or three summers ago when they were showing Alfred Hitchcock’s “The Birds” as part of the Cinema on the Square program. The ads claimed it was Ohio’s largest screen. Well, maybe it was at one time, but not when I was there. The screen seemed smaller than the ones at your average multiplex.
I was there to see “Thunderball,” the James Bond movie, on December 30, 1965. It was a great theater if I remember with a lobby so long you could get lost in it. I didn’t return until 1989 to see some dance program as part of an Art Appreciation class in college. Still impressive.
For a time in the late 60’s, I went to the Lyceum almost every Sunday afternoon with one of my buddies. On Saturday nights, I often went alone or with my brother. I remember double features of “Cool Hand Luke” and “The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre,” “A Guide for the Married Man” and “The Green Berets,” “Yellow Submarine” and “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly,” “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly” and “Hang ‘Em High” (a strange man placed his hand on my 12 year-old knee), “The Boston Strangler” and “The Secret Life of an American Wife,” “Night of the Living Dead” and “No Way to Treat a Lady,” “Horror of Dracula” and “Curse of Frankenstein,” “The Oblong Box” and “Premature Burial,” “Fistful of Dollars” and “For a Few Dollars More,” “Thunderball” and “From Russia With Love,” “Lady in Cement” and “Deadfall,” “Coogan’s Bluff” and “A Lovely Way to Die,” “The Impossible Years” and “Hot Millions,” “Wait Until Dark” and…what did I see it with?
For a time, they were open Wed-Sun, but for the most part it was a Fri-Sun operation. The last attraction was supposed to be a double bill of “Support Your Local Sheriff” and “Support Your Local Gunfighter” but the theater closed before they played. It was marginally more high class than the Garden on W.25th off Clark Avenue which had a hole in the screen for a long time and closed around two years earlier. The Garden was the second run (or was it third run? Yeah, third-run) theater I went to most often, and when it closed I started to patronize the Lyceum more often than I did before.
Contrary to what the news article about the Hipp’s demolition claims, the famous movies did indeed play at the Hipp. He names one of them: “Goldfinger.” I saw two other first run James Bond films there: the very first showing of “You Only Live Twice” on its opening day in June 1967 (the theater was packed) and “On Her Majesty’s Secret Service” several weeks into its first run (it opened a week before Christmas 1969 and I saw it in mid-January). I also remember seeing a double feature of reissued Bond films, “Thunderball” and “You Only Live Twice” in January 1971. That was the last time I went to the Hipp.
The Hipp may have been somewhat less classy than the theaters in Playhouse Square, but it was more conveniently located near Public Square, and, as a result, probably attracted a more diverse clientele including people who would show up early in the day and sit through multiple showings of the same picture, due less to a love of movies than having nowhere else to go. As someone else said, it was a grind house, but so were the other downtown theaters unless they were showing a roadshow attraction with reserved seating, ala Loew’s State’s presentation of “2001: A Space Odyssey” in 1968, which was probably the last such attraction at any downtown Cleveland theater.
The closing of the theaters in Playhouse Square probably had a negative impact on the Hipp, and when they reopened for live theater, that didn’t help it any. By 1972, and maybe earlier, the black exploitation films took over along with the earliest kung fu potboilers. At that time, the classier first run movies, and even most of the non classy first run movies, opened in the suburban theaters, most of which had been second run movie houses in the early 60s and became first run as people moved to the suburbs and away from the cities.
As for the seating capacity, an ad that appeared in The Plain Dealer when “You Only Live Twice” opened at the Hipp in June 1967 said, “3500 seats. Don’t be disappointed.”
To Jim Somich: the microfilm machines at the Cleveland Public Library do print out copies in regular, as opposed to negative, form but you have to adjust the settings.