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The original opening features as a two screen operation were as follows: Cinema 1 “The Outrage” with Paul Newman, Cinema 2 “Send Me No Flowers” with Doris Day. Saw both of them there.
Chuck1231. The photo is of the Country Palace formerly the Peppermint Lounge in downtown Toledo. It’s not the Palace Theatre that was located on St. Clair Street next door to the Rivoli and across the street from the original entrance to the Valentine Theatre. A good photo of a Toledo landmark nonethe less.
I am not sure who designed the Palace in Toledo, Ohio as it was indeed built before the Rivoli. The Toledo Public Library has a pretty good collection of photographs featuring the various downtown theatres. The Palace was in fact originally called the Empire and featured live vaudeville performances. When urban renewal hit downtown Toledo the theatres were the first to go. In the sixties Toledo had a thriving downtown with numerous choices for film entertainment. If you visit youtube.com and type in Paramount Theatre Toledo, there is a long shot of Superior Street that quickly shows the Royal as well as the tower signs of the Loop and the
Esquire. It is my understanding that the former Esquire building is now slated for demolition if not already gone. The last time I was there it was still standing but empty. How sad for this city. The same time the Valentine was being restored the Pantheon was being demolished on the same street no less. It breaks my heart to stand in front of these long gone beauties and feel the ghosts all around. If my memory is correct, I think the Gayety on Summit Street was the first downtown theatre. The Palace (Empire) and the Town Hall (People’s Theatre, Capitol Theatre) might have been the next ones built.
Hi Mary Jo. I am sorry to say that I do not recall knowing you from the Village. As little kids we packed that place especially on the weekends. At the age of 16 I was living in Toledo, Ohio and did not manage to return to Charleston until 1999 as previously stated. I am however, glad to meet you through this forum and to hear that you have remained in Charleston and can still see where the Village once stood. My earliest memories of seeing a film at the Village was “Green Mansions” with Audrey Hepburn and Anthony Perkins. I loved being a kid in Charleston and especially loved all the great theatres that were there. My family lived on Roosevelt Avenue and my brother and I could see the screen of the Owens Drive-In from his bedroom at night. Mr. Simon’s Putt-Putt was located next to the drive-in theatre. Sadly it is now gone as well. Downtown Charleston had some beautiful theatres back then, as did Toledo, Ohio. Call me a preservationist, but I miss the days of single screen theatres that were operated by true show people.
Yes Jack, so true. Yesterday “Scream Of Fear” was on TMC. I saw that film with my parents at the Village. Scared me to no end. You never know when you are making a memory. I really miss those times I spent at the Village and the other theatres in Charleston. I went through there in 1999 and found the building that used to be the Village. Sad. Same goes for the Marmet. Still standing but used as a church now. The manager of the Marmet was a gentleman by the name of Mr. Nichols. All the kids called him Mr. Five Pennies.
This theatre was originally built and opened as a Jerry Lewis Twin seating 350 in each auditorium. It was one of the nicest JLC’s in the nicest theatres in the area. When Carmike purchased it the theatre went into a decline and has since been demolished.
Roger and David thank you so much for your posts. I remember my brother had a friend by the name of Butch Thorpe who also worked at the Village as a projectionist. Did either of you know him? Curious. As stated, George Simon was awesome. I was so sad to discover his obituary on line one evening. The last time I spoke with him was after I purchased my first theatre. I called him to tell him that he was an inspiration to me as a kid. He did remember me from my days at the Village. I had heard his wife Julia could be a tempest in a teapot but as I recall she was always really nice to me. I kept bugging her to book Roger Vadim’s “Blood And Roses” in 1962 but she refused to book scary films there. After much pleading she told me she would book the film but after showing “The Innocents” with Deborah Kerr she cancelled out. I remember feeling really let down but thankfully the film did play at the Marmet and the Owens Drive-In where I did get to see it. Years later when I entered the exhibition business I managed to get a print of “Blood And Roses” out of the Paramount vault and show it in one of my theatres for a week on a big screen. Way cool. I wish I could find some photos of the theatre as it seems so many years ago. I had some friends who lived on Noyes Avenue as well. Their family name was the Burke’s. Hank, Annette, Beverly and Skeet. By any chance did you know them? They did not live too far from the Village.
I seem to recall an incident involving a tractor trailer smashing into the marquee of the Virginian after cutting a turn too sharp. This was a beautiful theater with a large balcony. The Virginian played “The Absent Minded Professor” day and date with the Rialto as the crowds for the film were huge. I saw the film at the Virginian as the Rialto was sold out for all performances the day we attended.
I loved this theatre as well. I remember it as a beautiful art house. I went there numerous times with my family. “North By Northwest”, “Imitation Of Life”, “The Trapp Family” and “Blood And Roses” were some of the films I saw there. The STATE was elegant inside and very very clean. I loved the neon on the marquee and the tower sign. I wonder if the building is still standing.
As a child I too lived in the Village Theater. The owners were George and Julia Simon. I was born in 1951 and left Charleston in 1962. I spent most of my childhood inside the Village, Marmet and Guild Theatres. (The Guild closed way before the Village shuttered.) I don’t recall a balcony or cry-room but I do remember the art deco lights and marquee and a rotunda ceiling. Kids and families supported this theater from miles around. As a kid it was frustrating when the Village booked films like “Never On Sunday” or “La Dolce Vita” as we were shut out. Given the fact that there were so many kids going there I am sure the staff needed a break. I have a photo of the exterior of the Village before it closed but it looks nothing like it did in it’s hayday. Come to think of it, Charleston had a number of really great theatres. The Kearse, Virginian, Rialto, Greenbriar, State, Lyric, Custer, Marmet, Guild, and the Browns just to name a few. George Simon opened a Putt-Putt franchise next to the Owens Drive-In Theatre in addition to operating the Village. He was a super star in my eyes.
The building is long gone. After the Avalon closed it was converted to a bowling alley. That did not last either. It was not in the best location.
The Esquire, like the Pantheon, Eastwood and Westwood, was a stadium style theatre. It was located on the same street as the Loop and Royal. It was the last theatre to be built in downtown Toledo. It is now a nightclub. It had a distinct chinese flair in the design of the lobby and was almost identical to the Pantheon.
The Colony was a beautiful art deco neighborhood theatre later sold and converted to first run. There was a bowling alley located under the theatre which caught fire and was later destroyed. The theatre continued operating however as it was part of a trendy area of Toledo in the late 60’s. In it’s later years it was booked with blaxploitation fare and horror films resulting in it’s closing. It was demolished to make way for a beautiful parking lot. “The Graduate” had an enormous run there and the local paper featured photos of lines of people stretched around the block waiting to get in. Another loss for Toledo. The tower sign with green neon lettering could be seen from a distance as one approached the “colony” area.
The Palace was my personal favorite of the Toledo downtown theatres. I read somewhere that it was originally named the Empire and was later changed to “Palace”. It’s interior design was more of an opera house. In the 60’s the Palace would play double features with a heavy mix of action fare and adult fare (non x rated. Think Russ Meyer), home for many of the numerous Godzilla films of that era. The Palace did open “A Hard Days Night” first run in Toledo resulting in long lines of people camped out overnight under the large marquees of the Palace and Rivoli which stood next door. This was the only time I remember the balcony of the Palace being opened. The crowds were incredible and the screaming female Beatle fans made viewing and listening in glorious mono all but impossible.
In the mid 70’s the World was re-named the Sepia Theatre and was operated by a small group of independent community minded individuals. As the Sepia, it programmed double features mostly action flicks.
The Pantheon stood across the street from the Princess Theatre on St. Clair Street. The Valentine, still standing, was on the same side of St. Clair one block north of the Pantheon. The Palace and the Rivoli stood directly across from the Valentine. The Pantheon, Palace and Rivoli were part of the Skirball chain. The Pantheon was the primary theatre for Disney films. In the late sixties it also was the home for many roadshow engagements like “My Fair Lady” and “Lawrence Of Arabia”. In later years it became the home for many blaxploitation pictures. It outlasted the wrecking ball for many years after it closed as the lobby was converted to a Taylor Photo Shop. During it’s heyday there were two storefronts by the boxoffice. One was occupied by Joey’s Record Mart, a very popular place to purchase vinyl 45 rpm records. The theatre was demolished in 1999 at the same time the preservation of the Valentine was underway. Toledo had at one time a thriving theatre district. A pity that only one survived.
I purchased and operated a former Jerry Lewis Twin in NW Ohio. The theatre originally opened in 1971 and was quite successful. After Network Cinema Corp. bailed and failed on the corporate end it left in-experienced operators at a loss. I purchased and re-opened the twin under a different name and operated it successfully for 15 years even when a major chain built the first 7-plex ¼ mile away from me. In defense of the JL Cinemas I will say the designs were far superior to many theatres at that time. They were the last theatres that I personally remember with automated curtains in front of the screens. I never ceased using them and refused to show ads/slides. Most JL’s had a 350 seating capacity in each auditorium. The previous owners were “Area Director’s” who sold additional franchises. There was a Jerry Lewis Twin in Findlay, Ohio later renamed Twin Palace. It has since been demolished and that’s a shame as it was the best in the area and one of the nicest Lewis’s. There was a twin in Monroe, Michigan which never opened under the JL name but opened as the River City Twin. It was also very nice but is now a restaurant. Again, the nicest theatre in that area. A JLC was opened in Taylor, Michigan and renamed The Pandora. There was a single screen JLC in Lambertville, Michigan later renamed Bedford Cinema, now closed and remodelled. I personally liked the Jerry Lewis concept. Most of the theatres were not built on the cheap and this is especially evident when compared to what we get today in the guise of a mulitplex. Contrary to popular belief, “R” rated films were not verboten in a JLC. It was customary in the twins and triples to exhibit a “G” or “PG” film alongside an “R”. In the case of a single screen, a “G” feature would be shown as a matinee attraction and the “R” shown at night. Typically most single screen operators rarely had a need to exhibit “R” rated fare. Many were flipped to XXX theatres as a way to get back at Network Cinema Corp. for abandoning the franchise owners and causing damage to the name. Most were in-experienced theatre owners as the original concept was a turn-key operation. Hey, we would all like to own a business that runs successfully by itself but any true showman knows that it takes some work and a vision. I think Jerry Lewis had a great concept, designed to boost theatre attendence, provide a clean environment and a relatively streamlined operation. With each new 20 plex that opens across the street from the 16 plex which last month closed the 10 plex one block over and shows multiple screens of the one “big” hit of the summer, I most definitely miss the Jerry Lewis Cinemas as well as any of the other lost single screens that truly built this industry and made movie going one of America’s favorite past times.
I moved to Toledo in 1962 from Charleston, West Virginia and remember clearly the interiors and exteriors of the Rivoli and the Palace. I attended numerous films there as well as the Paramount, Pantheon, Princess, Esquire, and Valentine theatres. I did get to see the Loop and the Royal as well so I was stunned to see color photos of them on this site. I have been in both the Westwood (when it was a “true” art theatre) and the Eastwood for which I have many photos hidden away somewhere. Not far from the Eastwood is the building that once was the Tivoli theatre, at last look was a Knights Of Columbus Hall. I was too young to gain entry to the Town Hall Theatre (I do have a photo of the exterior) or the Gayety however I did get to see them up close from the outside in. The Palace was always my favorite, a rouged old showgirl that stood long before many of the others. The day the Palace and Rivoli closed signaled the death knell for downtown Toledo. It was never the same dispite the suburban sprawl. I later owned and operated a twin screen in South Toledo in an attempt to re-store a sense of showmanship to the city I once lived in. All of the above mentioned theatres were managed or operated by true showmen and show women, alas, a vanishing breed.