Imperial Theatre

513 Main Street,
Zanesville, OH 43701

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Imperial Theatre

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This was the first of two Imperial Theatre to operate in Zanesville, the other was the former Schultz Opera House located at 22 N. 5th Street which had the Imperial name transferred in the 1930’s.

This first Imperial Theatre was open by 1916.

Contributed by Ken McIntyre

Recent comments (view all 6 comments)

kencmcintyre on February 13, 2007 at 5:36 pm

Irvin Johnson arrested for robbery in 1936. Not the Lakers star of years past:

Boy Arrested For Theater Robbery

Irvin Johnson, 12, 227 ½ Main Street, today was in custody of probate court authorities facing a charge of theft of $50 from the Imperial Theater Saturday. Johnson was arrested Saturday afternoon when he attempted to purchase a new bicycle with the stolen money. Bernard J. Mechling reported to police that a total of $50 was taken from the theater. A total of $47.50 was found in Johnson’s possession at the time of the arrest.

kencmcintyre on March 7, 2009 at 3:50 pm

Here is part of a March 1931 article from the Zanesville Signal:

At the Imperial Theater for five days starting Tuesday comes “Africa Speaks.” This is the thrilling adventure in the unexplored regions of equatorial Africa taken by the Colorado African Expedition, Inc. and hailed by critics as one of the greatest entertainments of its kind. The educational value or seeing “Africa Speaks” is of the highest and should be witnessed by young and old during its Imperial engagement.

Something unusual in added attractions comes to the Imperial Theater on Saturday afternoons only, starting next Saturday, March 7. It is the all-talking serial “The Indians are Coming” with Tim McCoy in the leading role. This serial played the Roxy Theater on Broadway a short time ago and brought favorable comment from the metropolitan critics. It is in 13 episodes and one will be shown each Saturday afternoon for the next 12 weeks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 28, 2010 at 2:43 am

There were two theaters called the Imperial in Zanesville. This one was the first. It was located at 513 Main Street was in operation in 1916. I’ve been unable to determine when the name was moved to the former first Liberty Theatre, but the Liberty occupied that location until at least September, 1927, when the new Liberty opened.

The first Liberty might have operated under one or more other names before becoming the second Imperial. The Imperial in the 1948 photo linked in ken mc’s comment of March 21, 2008, was not the one on Main Street, but the former Liberty on North Fifth Street, so this house on Main Street had either been closed or renamed by that year.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 28, 2010 at 4:38 pm

I’ve found a photo in the book Zanesville, part of the Arcadia Publishing Company’s Images of America series, which shows N.Fifth Street in the early 1930s, and a vertical sign saying Imperial is displayed on the former Schultz Opera House, so the original Imperial on Main Street must have been closed or renamed by that time.

koosmal on September 28, 2010 at 5:55 pm

This was the home of Sherwin-Williams for quite a while. “Imperial” spelled in tile remains on the sidewalk. I was told by relatives they showed mostly ‘B’ movies, focusing on westerns.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 29, 2013 at 10:21 pm

The photo currently displayed on this page shows not this Imperial Theatre on Main Street, but the second house of that name, located at 22 N. Fifth Street. The second Imperial is listed at Cinema Treasures under its final name, the Variety Theatre.

We need a description for this theater noting that it was the first Imperial Theatre in Zanesville, that it was in operation by 1916, and that the name Imperial was transferred to the former Schultz Opera House on Fifth Street sometime in the 1930s. Right now, it is likely that most of the comments above actually pertain to the second Imperial Theatre, and a correct description of this house might reduce the confusion.

There is a possibility that this house was renamed the Columbia Theatre after the name Imperial was moved to the Schultz. See my comment on the Variety Theatre page for the details.

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