Palace Theatre

34 West Broad Street,
Columbus, OH 43215

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bbfarmer
bbfarmer on February 5, 2013 at 9:54 am

People, yes; the city planners and folks who program entertainment downtown, not so much. There’s just a palpable sense of “look how sophisticated we’re becoming” in Columbus that seems to be sapping some of the fun out of the city. But maybe it’s just my perception.

bbfarmer
bbfarmer on February 4, 2013 at 10:05 pm

They used to have a yearly Three Stooges show at the theater; it was always 8 shorts with an intermission halfway through. One year Moe’s son-in-law Norman Maurer was in attendance and told some great stories. In recent years they’ve become too “upscale” for that sort of thing. That’s a major problem I’ve seen in Columbus for the last couple of decades; they’re trying so hard to be gentrified and sophisticated that the old-fashioned fun side of the city is nowhere to be found. The decision makers in this town today would consider something like a Stooges show to be beneath the city’s dignity or something. Sad.

Keith
Keith on April 15, 2012 at 7:50 am

10tv story on the Palace. COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Palace Theatre in downtown Columbus has been home to prime entertainment for decades.

The theatre, located in the LeVeque Towner on Broad Street, opened 86 years ago as a Vaudeville house, 10TV’s Jerry Revish reported.

“I saw Lucille Ball play here, Jack Benny was here. Bill Bojangles Robinson played here,” said Todd Bemis of the Columbus Association For the Performing Arts, which manages the theater. “All the greats at that time found their way to Columbus through the front doors of the Palace.”

The theater had a huge boom when Mae West came to town in 1938.

“There’s a photo of folks literally wrapped around the outside of the building waiting to buy tickets to get into see Mae West,” Bemis said.

The Palace Theatre became home to big bands in the 1940s.

“They used to have what they called a rolling stage on the theater,” Bemis said. “They would still show a movie maybe before the jazz concert, but then the movie screen would go out, and the jazz band or the big band would start to play, and they would literally roll them down to the front of the state, to the great applause of the audience.”

Business slowed in the 1960s, though, Revish reported.

“Many of the furnishings of the theater disappeared during that period, all the crystal was stripped out of the theater during the period because they didn’t want to maintain it, keep it clean,” Bemis said. “The wonderful brass doors that we have in our inner lobby, they just painted them rather than polish them, so there were seven coats of paint on those doors applied during that time.”

The problems continued until Frederic LeVeque came along and purchased the theater in 1973.

“The theater actually would have been demolished at that time, and his hotel was to expand from the theater up to Broad and High,” Bemis said.

LeVeque died in a plane crash and was not able to complete his plans.

Years later, his widow decided to reopen the theater after spending $3 million of her own money to renovate the building. She added new seats, plumbing, wiring and a new roof.

“There was nothing really usable in the theater,” Bemis said.

The Osmand family debuted the newly renovated theater.

“I’ll always remember that, they took over two full floors of the Neil House at that time,” Bemis said. “They had such a large entourage.”

Bemis said that the Palace Theatre has brought value to Columbus.

“It’s what I like to call the workhorse of our theaters in downtown, because it does such a wide range,” Bemis said.

Mark_L
Mark_L on July 2, 2008 at 11:56 am

One very odd thing about this theatre is that when you walk into the balcony, it feels like you are leaning to the side. VERY disconcerting! I experienced it as a child and then again, many years later, when I attended a concert. My dad told me one time that he hated going there for the same reason.

No idea why this happens…probably some type of optical illusion.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 20, 2007 at 1:34 pm

The phototgraph credit in the introduction is ridiculous: “Photo courtesy of the public domain.” Just think about it!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 20, 2007 at 10:33 am

Nice. I still wonder why the sign says “Columbus Palace Theatre” when that is not the actual name.

Ron3853
Ron3853 on February 4, 2007 at 4:33 pm

Listed below are the films which played at the Palace Theater in Columbus, Ohio from March 1963 through January 1967. Research is from microfilms of Variety and The Columbus Dispatch. The date given is the Wednesday of the film’s opening week.
Palace
03/06/63 The Days of Wine and Roses/Make Mine a Double
03/20/63 Son of Flubber
04/10/63 The Birds
05/01/63 Critic’s Choice/Guns of Darkness
05/08/63 The Miracle of the White Stallions/The Great Van Robbery
05/15/63 The Ugly American/The Frightened City
05/22/63 The Yellow Canary/Police Nurse
05/29/63 The List of Adrian Messenger/The Traitors
06/12/63 Island of Love/Term of Trial
06/19/63 Giant
06/26/63 Savage Sam/Yellowstone Cubs
07/03/63 Spencer’s Mountain/Black Gold
07/17/63 A Gathering of Eagles/Payroll
07/24/63 55 Days at Peking
08/07/63 Summer Magic
08/21/63 PT 109
09/04/63 Wall of Noise/The Raiders of Leyte Gulf
09/11/63 Mondo Cane
09/18/63 For Love or Money
09/25/63 The Haunting
10/2/63 The Condemned of Altona/Harbor Lights
10/09/63 20,000 leagues Under the Sea
10/16/63 Rampage/The Castilian
10/23/63 Shock Corridor/Rider on a Dead Horse
10/30/63 Mary, Mary/The Great Chase
11/13/63 The Incredible Journey/Siege of the Saxons
11/27/63 Palm Springs Weekend/The Gun Hawk
12/11/63 Wuthering Heights/Our Very Own
12/18/63 Cry of Battle/Gunfight at Comanche Creek
12/25/63 Charade
02/05/64 The Sword in the Stone
02/26/64 Move Over, Darling
03/11/64 Four for Texas/The Young Swingers
03/18/64 The Misadventures of Merlin Jones
04/08/64 The Incredible Mr. Limpet/Thunder Island
04/15/64 A Tiger Walks/Cavalry Command
04/22/64 Soldier in the Rain/War is Hell
04/29/64 Dead Ringer/Dr. Crippen
05/06/64 America, America/The Man from Galveston
05/13/64 South Pacific
05/27/64 A Distant Trumpet/FBI Code 98
06/03/64 Spartacus
06/10/64 The Chalk Garden/Star-Fighters
06/24/64 What a Way to Go!
07/15/64 Robin and the Seven Hoods
07/29/64 The Moon-Spinners/The Swinging Maiden
08/12/64 Bedtime Story/A Yank in Vietnam
08/19/64 Ensign Pulver/Devil Ship Pirates
08/26/64 The Thin Red Line/The Secret Door
09/02/64 Marnie/Never Put it in Writing
09/16/64 The Killers/No, My Darling Daughter
09/30/64 The Visit/The Third Secret
10/07/64 Fate is the hunter/The Earth Dies Screaming
10/14/64 Kisses for My President/Act One
10/21/64 The lively Set/Sing and Swing
10/28/64 Guns at Batasi/Journey to the Center of the Earth
11/04/64 Malamondo/1 Dead, 2 Living
11/18/64 Rio Conchos/Ready for the People
11/25/64 Youngblood Hawke/Blood on the Arrow
12/09/64 So Dear to My Heart/The Golden Horseshoe Revue
12/16/64 Kitten With a Whip/Bullet for a Badman
12/23/64 Father Goose
01/20/65 Sex and the Single Girl/Stop Train 349
02/17/65 Dear Brigitte/Racing Fever
02/24/65 The Night Walker/The Master Spy
03/03/65 None But the Brave/The Strangler
03/17/65 Hush, Hush…Sweet Charlotte
04/07/65 Strange Bedfellows/Taggart
04/14/65 The Truth About Spring/Mara of the Wilderness
04/21/65 John Goldfarb, Please Come Home/Raiders from Beneath the Sea
04/28/65 Bus Riley’s Back in Town/Why Bother to Knock?
05/05/65 Dear Heart/Doctor in Distress
05/12/65 Cheyenne Autumn
05/19/65 Brainstorm/The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die
05/26/65 Mirage/Bomb in the High Street
06/02/65 The Batle of the Villa Fiorita/Taxi for Tobruk
06/09/65 Mondo Pazzo/Mission to Hell
06/16/65 A High Wind in Jamaica/Fort Courageous
06/23/65 Up from the Beach/Convict Stage
06/30/65 Von Ryan’s Express
07/21/65 The Art of Love/Apache Gold
08/04/65 Zorba the Greek
08/18/65 The Third Day/Gunmen of the Rio Grande
08/15/65 Morituri
09/01/65 Casanova ‘70
09/15/65 Darling
09/22/65 Having a Wild Weekend/Murieta
09/29/65 Marriage on the Rocks
10/13/65 Paris Secret/The Model Murder Case
10/20/65 The Reward/What a Way to Go!
10/27/65 The Ipcress File
11/10/65 The Bedford Incident
11/17/65 Love Has Many Faces/Under the Yum Yum Tree
11/24/65 The Nanny/Wild on the Beach
12/08/65 Sands of the Kalahari/The Town Tamer
12/15/65 Gypsy/The Music Man
12/22/65 That Darn Cat
01/26/66 Never Too Late/Operation CIA
02/02/66 Othello (2 days only)
02/09/66 Our Man Flint
03/23/66 Inside Daisy Clover
04/06/66 The Great Race
05/18/66 Harper
06/22/66 A Big Hand for the Little Lady
06/29/66 Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?
09/07/66 A Fine Madness
09/21/66 Assault on a Queen/Come Blow Your Horn
09/28/66 JFK: Years of Lightning, Days of Drums
10/05/66 An American Dream/Sex and the Single Girl
10/12/66 Seconds
10/19/66 Kaleidoscope
10/26/66 Dead Heat on a Merry-Go-Round
11/02/66 A Man Called Adam/An Eye for an Eye
11/09/66 Adam and Eve/Shame of the Sabine Women
11/16/66 Not With My Wife, You Don't
11/30/66 La Dolce Vita
12/07/66 Bang! Bang! You’re Dead/Macabro
12/14/66 The Great Race/marriage on the Rocks
12/21/66 Any Wednesday/I Deal in Danger
01/04/67 The Wild Angels/Under Age
01/25/67 Warning Shot/Red Tomahawk
02/01/67 A Fistful of Dollars

More fils from 1967 to the closing of the Palace will be posted as research is completed. Among the holiday films that played in later years were:
1967 – Wait Until Dark
1968 – Bullitt
1969 – The Arrangement
1970 – There Was a Crooked Man…
1971 – Diamonds are Forever
1972 – Hit Man
1973 – Hell Up in Harlem
1974 – Abby

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 20, 2006 at 12:00 am

The signs both say “Columbus Palace Theatre”. But I’ve never heard anyone call it that, and CAPA’s website just calls it the Palace Theatre.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on April 3, 2006 at 5:27 am

A color photo of the auditorium with view from the stage can be seen on page 1 of “The Arts” section of The New York Times of today, April 3, 2006. I would imagine that it’s viewable at www.nytimes.com
The accompanying article was written by Jodi Rudoren.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 17, 2005 at 8:47 am

The same organization, CAPA, operates both the Ohio and the Palace. They probably think the Ohio’s organ is all they need downtown.

Patsy
Patsy on October 17, 2005 at 8:44 am

Is there an organ in the Palace today? And I find it fascinating that Columbus Ohio had 2 theatres built by Thomas Lamb!

Patsy
Patsy on October 17, 2005 at 8:39 am

Mark L: Interesting to note that the organ for this theatre was removed many years ago. That, in itself, is not unusual, but the fact that it is now located in a high school near the city is interesting to note and makes one wonder why the powers to be at the theatre wouldn’t try to bring that organ back to its rightful place in history!

Mark_L
Mark_L on September 24, 2005 at 8:31 am

Palace is still operating as a live venue. Information on current shows can be seen at www.capa.com

Organ was removed many years ago and is now located in Worthington High School. Worthington is a suburb on the far north side of the city.

Patsy
Patsy on September 24, 2005 at 6:56 am

Is this theatre open or closed in 2005. One of the 5 interior b/w photos posted May 8, 2005 shows workers removing the organ for restoration.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 9, 2005 at 4:38 am

When it closed, the RKO Palace was the last remaining first-run screen in downtown Columbus. Only the Southern Theatre continued operating downtown, showing second- and third-run double features, after the RKO Palace closed.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 9, 2005 at 3:14 am

The RKO Palace closed as a movie theatre in September, 1975, not quite reaching its 50th anniversary. From looking at the Columbus Dispatch microfilm archives, it appears that the last movie to show here was the X-rated Emmanuelle. The last day’s newspaper to carry the ad was published on Tuesday, September 9.

Emmanuelle was not a typical booking for the RKO Palace. The week before, they had shown Take a Hard Ride, a ‘spaghetti Western’ made in Italy. Its last day was Tuesday, September 2. Back then, movie theatres usually changed their films on Wednesdays, rather than on Fridays as they do now.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 8, 2005 at 5:49 am

The Columbus Metropolitan Library has an online historic photo collection with several photos of this and other theatres.

Broad & High Streets, 1970, showing the RKO Palace vertical sign.

Tommy Dorsey and Irwin Johnson on the Palace stage, 1950

Broad Street downtown, looking west towards the RKO Palace vertical sign and marquee, 1969

The marquee in 1926, when it was still called the “Keith-Albee Palace”. The caption says it was renamed RKO Palace in 1929.

Five interior photos of the RKO Palace

West Broad Street, 1957, with RKO Palace marquee at right, and Loew’s Broad theatre across the street

Click on the thumbnails for full-size photos.

Hibi
Hibi on January 10, 2005 at 10:58 am

Does anyone know if the lobby of the Palace was bigger in the past than it is now? I’ve heard that the small shops in front of the theater used to be part of a bigger lobby, but I’ve never been able to verify this.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 2, 2004 at 7:53 am

When I lived in Columbus in the 1960s and 70s, this was always called the “RKO Palace”.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on August 19, 2004 at 12:28 pm

Exterior views of the Palace and another RKO theatre (possibly Keith’s in Dayton) can be seen in the “bonus” DVD packaged with the recent RCA Bluebird CD, “Glenn Miller: The Centennial Collection."
The silent, B&W footage comes from home movies taken in 1941-42 by Trigger Alpert, the bassist in Glenn Miller’s orchestra. Several minutes from an actual stage performance are also included, but the theatre’s name is not given. The sound is dubbed in from a Miller recording.