Dabel Cinema

1920 S. Smithville Road,
Dayton, OH 45403

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Dabel Theatre exterior

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On April 22, 1947 Mid-States Theaters opened the Dabel Theater at a cost of approximately $125,000. A contest was held to pick a name for the new theater. Thirteen year old Carol Deitz and Mrs. E. A. Tinnerman each received $50 for suggesting the name of Dabel, a combination of DAyton and BELmont, the neighborhood where the theater was located.

In 1963 plans were made to convert the Dabel to show Cinerama films. The transition involved the installation of a wide, curved screen. Special wiring and booths to hold three separate projectors were installed in the theater, which reduced the theater’s seating capacity from 950 to 742 (all on a single floor). The cost of the changes were estimated to run around $40,000. Projection equipment valued at $60,000 was leased from Cinerama. Cinerama debuted at the Dabel Theater on May 28, 1963, with “This is Cinerama”.

Later known as the Dabel Cinema, it closed in 1992 and was demolished in October of that same year.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

ZookieFreddie
ZookieFreddie on July 11, 2006 at 3:31 pm

When I lived in Dayton from 1963 to 1999, I attended this theater many times. It was directly across from the end of Wayne Avenue and had ‘rocking chair’ seats. It was torn down to build a Revco Drug store, which went bankrupt. The drug store, of course, closed and was later taken over as a Family Dollar store.

dingoman
dingoman on August 15, 2007 at 7:05 am

Saw the Sound of Music there when they took all the paperboys to a special morning showing. Also saw How the West Was Wong and 2001 in Cinerama. The last film I saw there was Tommy in “quintrophonic sound.” Nice and loud and great sound for all the shows on the big screen!

JimBernier
JimBernier on August 28, 2007 at 9:57 pm

Before the Dabel was built between Brownies Market and Steberal’s Market on Smithville, there was an open air “farmer’s type” market on the spot with a big tent in the middle. The tent pole had a telephone on it and when we would come home from downtown (the bus line loop was on Wayne Ave at Smithville), we would call mom to pick us up using that phone. Then they demolished the market place to build the Dabel in 1947. I was eight and joined the “booster” club with my sisters and we all got a badge with a number on it. Every Saturday (no TV!) we would get a quarter and a penny to go to the Dabel and watch the serials and superman (the original) and all of the other 1940 movies. When we bought our tickets for 20 cents, we would have six cents left to buy a candy bar. Sometimes our booster club number would appear on the window of the ticket booth and we would get in free with 26 cents to buy candy and popcorn!

TerryBear
TerryBear on November 9, 2008 at 4:03 pm

Gee…
How The West Was Won
Sound of Music
Circus World
2001: A Space Odyssey
Ice Station Zebra
Grand Prix
Krakatoa East of Java
I’ll never forget going in and sitting down, listening to the overture, and then watching those curtains pull back to reveal that huge curved screen as the movie began. This movie palace gave me my love for movies.

ZookieFreddie
ZookieFreddie on February 22, 2009 at 4:18 pm

Please help me here. Dingoman says he actually saw a movie here in 2001 even though it was torn down in 1992! I moved out of Dayton in 1999 after the drug store had replaced the theater with their own building and it, after that, became a Family Dollar store. Maybe he meant another year for sure?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 22, 2009 at 5:13 pm

He’s talking about the Kubrick film 2001.

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