Uptown Theatre

18 E. McMicken Avenue,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

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Uptown Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Opened as the Variety Theatre in 1913. Around 1930 it was renamed Uptown Theatre. This was a second-run movie house in the Over-the-Rhine section of Cincinnati. It was operating into the 1960’s.

Contributed by Joe Allen

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 4, 2006 at 8:01 pm

A minor point (and not relevant to the theatre discussion), but if Tim Lucas is still around, someone might let him know that he was paying six bits), not three bits, for his movie tickets. A quarter was two bits, and thus the once-common phrase “two-bit grind house” arose to describe theatres showing triple features all day and night for a quarter.

stubaby
stubaby on August 26, 2006 at 8:15 pm

of course, i recall the Uptown… saw a few films there, but when young , my theatre (and neighborhood) was the Empire… I guess there was no “marquee” overhanging sidewalk, but there were theatre posters, and ads in the paper (in the long gone ‘Neighborhood Theatres" section to let you know what was playing and when. In 1995, I met a woman whose father managed the Uptown theatre in the sixties… she herself sold tickets and worked the concession stand as a teen. Wish I had asked her more questions about place. Met another woman at time, who remembered area when it was a “good” neighborhood… she always attended the Uptown, rather than the Empire – said the Uptown was “cleaner!” Rather prim and proper, but very nice lady.

Joeallen
Joeallen on October 3, 2008 at 4:56 pm

I remember the Uptown in the ‘60s. I remember the vertical “Uptown” sign over the marquee. That’s about all I remember about it until it closed and it became a church of sorts. This is another one in which I can not find a photo of any kind. Anyone have one???

Bill Eichelberger
Bill Eichelberger on November 10, 2009 at 5:40 pm

This is the Uptown Theater as of two hours ago. ;–)
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 12, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Here is an item announcing the plans for this theater in the October 30, 1912, issue of The American Architect:

“Architects Rapp, Zettel & Rapp, Johnston Bldg., have completed plans and estimates for the erection of a brick and concrete amusement building at 18-20 E. McMicken Ave., between Vine and Walnut Sts., to be known as the Variety Theater, at a cost of $12,000.”
The November 20 issue of the same publication had an item about another projected theater designed by the same firm:
“Architects Rapp, Zettel 8: Rapp, Johnston Building, are preparing plans for a theater building for the Boston Theater Co., corner Vine and Elder Sts., to cost $10,000”
This theater would have been only a short distance from the Variety/Uptown. I don’t know if the second project was ever completed, but if it was it must have been at the northeast corner of the intersection. The other corners all have buildings on them that clearly date from the 19th century. The building on the northeast corner could have been a theater, though if so it would have been a very small one, probably not seating many more than 300 patrons.

hanksykes
hanksykes on August 24, 2012 at 5:46 pm

Uptown Th. started as The Variety th. in 1913 according to our City Directory at 18 East Mc Micken. The name changed to Uptown Th. around 1930 when perhaps the new owners took over.

rzavisin
rzavisin on February 11, 2013 at 12:26 pm

As a child, from 1943 til about 1948 I would attend the “cowboy westerns” every Saturday. ( The movies for “grown-ups” would start after 4PM.) The cost was ten cents for the double features held each week. Roy Rogers, Gene Autry, Sunset Carson, etc..

To the right of the theater , now a vacant lot, was a neighborhood bar.

rbaird13
rbaird13 on December 31, 2015 at 2:57 pm

This was my theater from mid 1950 to mid 1960. New movies were double feature Sun/Mon $.25, double features $.15 Tu/Wed/TH, treble features $.20 Fri/Sat. I watched all the 50’s Scifi movies there, mostly from the front row. Best memory was watching Dr. No there in 1962.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 31, 2015 at 6:51 pm

The Cincinnati architectural firm of Rapp, Zettel & Rapp operated from 1903 through 1912. The principals were George W. Rapp (not to be confused with Chicago architect George W. L. Rapp), his son Walter L. Rapp, and partner John Zettel. Among the firm’s projects was a 1909 factory for the Rudolph Wurlitzer Company at Tonawanda, New York. From 1913 to 1930, the firm became Rapp & Zettel, and from 1931 until Walter Rapp’s retirement in 1958, Rapp & Meacham.

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