Albee Theatre

12 E. 5th Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

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Showing 1 - 25 of 48 comments

hanksykes on March 11, 2016 at 3:49 pm

That roof sign atop this venue only lasted 3 years until RKO took over!!!

rivest266 on May 30, 2015 at 6:28 pm

December 24th, 1927 grand opening ad in photo section

hanksykes on February 3, 2014 at 10:11 am

Removal of the splendid Albee Theatre on fifth street was Cincinnati’s most stupid theater loss.

cincinnaticarol on March 21, 2013 at 6:45 pm

CORRECTION: the above states that “The facade was also later duplicated on the 5th Street side of the Albert B. Sabin Convention Center — about 3 blocks from where the original theater once stood.” My father worked in Urban Renewal and I clearly remember when the Convention Center was built and the Albee town down. The Albee theatre facade was NOT DUPLICATED, it is the ORIGINAL facade that was saved and placed on one of the Convention Center’s entrances. Yes, the Albee facade was saved!!!

hanksykes on December 7, 2012 at 5:33 pm

All 8 of our RKO first run houses downtown escaped the water damage from Ohio’s 1937 flood as they were all above the waters peak by 69 feet.

Trolleyguy on October 19, 2011 at 12:00 pm

when I would visit relatives in Cincinnati as a youngster from Chicago in the 50’s, there was definitely de facto segregation in public places, like movie theaters and the Coney Island amusement park.

No surprises here. In his autobiography, the comedian Dick Gregory wrote about having to sit in the segregated balcony of a Carbondale Illinois movie theater. Illinois and Ohio did not have Jim Crow laws on the books, but they existed in unofficial practice,nonetheless.

WayneS on October 19, 2011 at 3:18 am

armleder I saw a number of films at the Albee in the early sixties. Gorgeous wonderful palace of a theater, including “The Music Man” in stereo sound. I attended a couple times with a black friend and have no memory of any racial discrimination.

MTS on March 8, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Melissa –

Contact me via PM on this site. If that fails, visit the ‘contact us’ page at

melissakramer on March 4, 2010 at 1:55 am

I’m working on a post about the Albee for my new website, which will be devoted to Cincinnati’s historic architecture, and I’d appreciate any comments, stories, etc., about the Albee Theater, the Emery Theater, etc.


Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on January 2, 2010 at 8:44 pm

The ALBEE a Stanley-Warner Theatre on August 9 1974 they are showing TOUGH ! about a tough black kid, Rated G. Guess some G rated movies do play in Downtown theatres in those days. It was first run.

kencmcintyre on February 23, 2009 at 10:06 pm

That’s all there is.

kencmcintyre on February 23, 2009 at 9:44 pm

Here is a November 1974 article from the Hamilton (OH) Journal-News:

CINCINNATI, Ohio (AP) â€" The City Planning Commission on Friday held a public hearing concerning the fate of the Albee movie theater, a landmark in downtown Cincinnati. Several groups asked that the movie house, which has been slated to be torn down along with several other buildings during renovation of the center city, be classified as a listed property by the commission. Such a classification would delay any permits to demolish the old theater for six months while it was under review.

The planning commission said it would announce next Friday whether to endorse the proposal to city council. “The Albee reflects a facet of our culture,” said Tracy Cropp, one of those speaking to save the theater. “It is important for its craftsmanship, its design and because it was a focal point for the community.”

GeorgeStrum on September 28, 2008 at 11:49 pm

Doris Day may have attended this theatre as a young girl and her cinema dreams came true.

hanksykes on July 12, 2007 at 5:51 pm

The Albee theatre organ now a done thing to be re-installed in Cincinnati Music Hall Ballroom by 2009.

QueenCityMotorsports on February 14, 2007 at 6:03 pm

I was told that the Daytona 500 was shown on closed circuit Television at the Alee Theatre. Does anyone know if this is true, and if so what years did they show it and who was involved in putting on the event. I am in the process of putting together a web site on Motorsports related things that are a part of the Tri State area, and was trying to find out more on the 500 being shown. This had to be before the 500 was shown live in 1979, after the Albee had closed.
If you have info, contact me or post here.

UCNicki on January 27, 2007 at 12:28 pm

I am a student at the University of Cincinnati and for my historic preservation class, I am writing a paper on the controversy surrounding the Albee’s demolition. If anybody can recommend some sources for me, I would greatly appreciate it. Please e-mail anything you can supply at .edu
Thank you!

Usher on January 19, 2007 at 5:06 pm

I considered it a privilege to have worked at the Albee. I was an usher, ticket taker, and barker in the late 40’s. All the ushers were barkers at one time or another. The movies always started with the curtains closed and then slowly but surely, the curtains opened revealing the screen. Their were basements, sub-basements and so forth which had once been dressing rooms for the many acts which played on the stage. The side doors, on Vine, were used to bring in props and costumes. I always thought it was a shame to put the facade on the Convention Center facing away from traffic. Only those walking North on Elm and the drivers who viewed it in their rear view mirrors saw how fantastic it looked.

asinger on February 18, 2006 at 5:21 am

Just one more correction: the Albee opened December 24, 1927.


asinger on February 17, 2006 at 10:59 am

Thank you. I agree about the street map. When I was writing the book, it had crossed my mind but it would have meant sacrificing photos of theaters to include one.

I never found a balcony shot of the Albee. That would have been nice, I agree.

Hibi on February 17, 2006 at 10:46 am

I would’ve liked to have seen more or the auditorium and the balcony, but I understand. Also a street map could’ve helped for people not familiar with downtown Cincinnati like me. But overall I thought it was very well done.

asinger on February 17, 2006 at 9:51 am

I’m the author of Stepping Out in Cincinnati. I appreciate the comments about my new book.

Mike, you are correct—I had the date of the opening of the theater wrong. The caption says 1928, but it opened December 28, 1927. The “28” became the year unfortunately. It will be corrected for the second edition.

Regarding the number of Albee interior photos, I tried to find a balance of a range of theater photos in the whole chapter. The book is not just about theaters, so I was limited on how much space I had in the book for theaters and everything else. Plus, the selection of pictures depended a lot on availability. I had to include what I could find. There are collections whose owners don’t want them in a book. The Historical Society has none. I came across a collection of negatives (credited to W.T. Myers), and most of them made it into the book. In that collection more more interior shots of the Albee: a larger waiting room, a shot of the organ, the upstairs hallway, and a photo of each of the paintings in the upstairs hallway. I had to choose the best representation of the Albee, and those are what made it into the book.

I would be happy to address any issues or concerns. Criticisms too.


Hibi on February 17, 2006 at 5:55 am

How sad they couldnt save this theater. I bought the Singer book and enjoyed leafing through it, but wished there had been more pics of the Albee interior. Cleveland and Columbus saved many of their downtown theaters, why couldnt Cinci save just one?

mikedetroy on February 16, 2006 at 6:12 pm

The Albee was located at 13 East Fifth Street, not 12 as stated above. It was on the south side of Fifth Street, and 12 would have put it on the north side. The north side was demolished in the mid-1960s for the reconstruction of Fountain Square. Keith’s Theatre was around the corner on Walnut Street and was part of that demolition. The Albee closed on September 17, 1974. It was briefly reopened about 2 years later in the fall of 1976 for a pre-demolition contents sale, and was demolished in 1977. The facade on the convention center is not a duplicate – it is the original marble from the Albee. After doing everything it could to get rid of the theatre, the city carefully dismantled, numbered, and saved all of the marble pieces from the facade for eventual reuse. Contrary to rgwalther’s comment, it wasn’t really “decaying,” and still looked splendid when it closed in 1974. Of course, it needed cleaning and restoration, but it was not in bad condition and was not a decaying hulk. The city and local newspapers tried to depict it that way whenever possible, in order to dampen public sentiment for saving it, but it simply wasn’t true. RKO had never modified it, so it was all original from the backstage wall to the top of the balcony. The proscenium was wide enough to accommodate a wide screen, so it never suffered the wide screen scaffolding, demolition of boxes, and fiberglass draping that were done to many old theatres. In his new book, “Stepping Out in Cincinnati,” Allen Singer missed the opening by a year. The Albee opened on Christmas Eve, December 24, 1927. Cincinnati will forever be poorer for not having saved it.

JanetR on February 11, 2006 at 5:34 pm

I spent a lot of time at the Albee as a little girl. My brother was an assistant manager there and he sometimes took me to work with him. It was a wonderful theatre with lots of places the general public didn’t get to see. I am trying to put an album together for him as he is retiring after 60 years of theatre management. I am looking for more pics of the Albee and other RKO theatres in Cinci from 1940s 1960’s. Also looking for pics of theatres owned by MidStates in 1960s -1980s. That would also include the Hollywood in College Hill. Would be interested in info and pics. Thanks for help. Am very excited about the info on “Stepping Out…” book. Thats a great piece of info.