Shaker Square Cinemas

13116 Shaker Square,
Cleveland, OH 44120

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Showing 1 - 25 of 33 comments

mcpierogipazza on July 10, 2013 at 7:16 am

My grandmother said she and my grandfather went there when they were dating, which would have been in the late 30s. She said they’d sit in the balcony. I asked her (teasingly) what she was doing in the balcony, and she said “smooching!”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 8, 2012 at 6:28 am

radarKW is correct. The Encyclopedia of Cleveland History provides this page about the Colony Theatre, and gives January, 1992, as the time of its reopening as a 5-screen house. I’m not sure what my source was for the claim of 1983 for the multiplexing, but it might have been the Mesbur+Smith page which is now gone. Or it could have been a typo. Spell check, alas, never finds mistakes in numbers.

radarKW on July 8, 2012 at 4:12 am

Oops.. of Lawrence of Arabia that is…

radarKW on July 8, 2012 at 4:11 am

Joe, I don’t think that the Colony was split into 5 theaters until 1992. I have a memory of seeing the restored 1989 version in the full Colony auditorium in 70mm complete with the full score. (overture, intermission, and exit music) Needless to say…it was a spectacular cinema experience.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 19, 2012 at 11:10 am

Three photos of the Shaker Square Cinemas can be seen here, on the web site of Mesbur+Smith Architects, the Toronto firm responsible for the 1999 renovations.

The auditorium had been carved into five screens in 1983, and the original lobby had been destroyed by a fire at some point. When Cleveland Cinemas took control of the house in 1999, the earlier multiplexing was torn out and replaced with a new six-screen configuration with stadium seating, and John Eberson’s original Art Moderne lobby design was restored.

Hehrman28 on August 10, 2011 at 1:41 am

I worked this theater as part time Assistant Manager of The Colony in 1950. It was a beautiful place to work. Most of my time was spent at the Uptown Theater on St. Clair Ave. in Cleveland. hehrman28

rivest266 on March 13, 2011 at 4:10 pm

This opened as Colony on December 27th, 1937
ad: View link

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on December 24, 2010 at 7:19 pm

Geez,Chuck.I don’t know if even IMPRESSIVE is the right word.what a Theatre!

spectrum on December 8, 2010 at 4:47 am

According to the weblink in the second comment at top, the Shaker Square was renovated in 1999.

CSWalczak on December 21, 2009 at 4:39 am

Here’s a recent exterior picture showing that the entrance has changed very little since the theater was known as the Colony:
View link

rlausche on September 30, 2009 at 2:23 am

Wish this cinema would never have been made into 6. Was a great theater in its day has the colony. Cleveland Cinemas should have kept the Colony name

CSWalczak on July 22, 2009 at 6:30 am

It was indeed the Colony Art Theater for while: Here’s an ad for the showing of “La Dolce Vita:"
View link

Norm Lindway
Norm Lindway on April 22, 2009 at 1:13 am

The Colony theater had about 1500 seats on the main floor and the balcony. On Saturday afternoons in the 1940’s, 50’s and early 60’s they had kids matinees with a feature, usually a western, a serial, five cartoons and a Three Stooges, Leon Erroll, Laurel and Hardy or Vera Vague comedy. There were two shows at 2 and at 4 pm. After six o'clock there was a single adult feature showing three times with the last showing about 11pm. News real, cartoon and trailers were also shown. The theater was operated by Warner Bros, then Stanley-Warner Theaters

Hibi on April 6, 2009 at 8:40 pm

I vaguely remember it being called the Colony Art for a time……

zabriskie on January 23, 2009 at 9:01 am

The Colony did not play “sub runs” before the reserved seat runs of MY FAIR LADY, DOCTOR ZHIVAGO, GOODBYE MR. CHIPS, FINIAN’S RAINBOW, THE BIG FISHERMAN etc. The Colony was the classy premiere showcase for the best foriegn films in Cleveland.It had a several month premiere run of LA DOLCE VITA as well as Antonioni’s LA NOTTE, PURPLE NOON and many others. It was then called the Colony Art for a few years. i remember seeing DOCTOR ZHIVAGO there dressed in a suit with my date home from college for Christmas, and then going to the super cool Stouffer’s Shaker square for dinner, worrying if i had enough money to cover our dinner.

Hibi on June 1, 2007 at 5:51 pm

The Sound of Music actually played at the Ohio theater downtown. My Fair Lady did play at the Colony along with Dr. Zhivago and many other roadshow engagements. Shaker Sq. was such and upscale area when I was younger. I’d hate to see what it looks like now. Such a shame…….

dcohen on December 24, 2006 at 2:56 pm

The Colony was where my family went to see all the big big box office pictures and movie spectaculars. Dinner at Stouffers and then the movie. As a kid, we always drove through Shaker Square to go downtown and I seem to remember commenting that movies such as the Sound of Music, King and I and My Fair Lady played there for months if not for years. The last time I was there was a family get together over winter holidays in the mid 70’s for the screening of the restored silent classic “Napolean”.

Vinzen on March 20, 2006 at 12:06 pm

I was just a boy in the 50’s and 60’s but not too young to appreciate how wonderfully luxurious the Colony was. The lobby was palatial with it’s marble floor and columnsâ€"there seemed to be brass trim, chandeliers, lush carpet and velvet ropes all the way up to the balcony. The restrooms and waiting lobby were down a glorious flight of wide, red, carpeted stairs which also merged onto marble floors. Beautiful paintings, gold-leafed sconces and lavish mirrors adorned the walls. The huge 70mm Cinemascope screen was one of the first in Cleveland. The stereo sound was spectacular using Voice Of The Theatre boxes. The most memorable of the movies that I saw there were: The Big Fisherman, The Ten Commandments, The King and I, The Blob and The West Side Story. Uniformed ushers, equipped with flashlights were available to take you to a seat on crowded showings.

My friends and I loved to stroll around the square, window shopping while meeting other kids. We would spend our allowance money on shakes and treats at Miller or Marshals drug store while day-dreaming about what was going on in the theater. Shaker Square was truly magnificent up till the time when my parents moved us away to Austin, Texas. I never forgot the Colony Theater or my wonderful memories of the spectacular City of Cleveland… . My, I could write a book about it!
Vince Mariani

blausche on October 9, 2005 at 11:05 pm

The Shaker Sq Cinema is not 6 screens and is own by Ckleveland Cinemas. From what I have read the lobby was refurbished in it original style. All the houses have stereo now. Whfen it was a five screen theatre the owner was Atlas cinemas.
Before it was a roadshow house, it showed mostly art movies from overseas and speicalty film.
When it reopen it ran mostly 2nd run films in 70mm. That was before other theatres in Cleveland would. Then the new owners of the Sq wanted it to be made into a 5 screen house and now to its present 6 screen
This wass my favoie movie house in the 70'. Last reserve seat movie was Fiddler on the Roof

dave-bronx™ on June 17, 2005 at 8:29 am

In the early 70s, Shaker Square was an upscale shopping area, with a Halle Bros. store and a Stouffer’s restaurant. The nearby English Tudor style Moreland Court apartments on Shaker Boulevard were filled with “old money” people.

dave-bronx™ on June 17, 2005 at 8:22 am

The Colony and the Vogue were both Stanley-Warner houses. I saw the original “Exorcist” here back in the early seventies. For that film, all the ushers were equipped with smelling salts, and in case someone tossed their cookies, there was a mop and wringer-bucket near the back of the auditorium. Today, “The Exorcist” seems fairly tame, but back then it was considered over the top.

jsomich on March 6, 2005 at 9:37 pm

The Vogue was only about 2 miles from the Colony and in a better section of Shaker Hts. Shaker Square, the location of the Colony, is officially Cleveland. Right on the border. The Vogue, however, was not as nice as the Colony. The Colony had real class.
Alas, even Shaker Hts. is not what it used to be. There are some streets of the super-rich, but more and more Shaker is becoming upper middle class.
There was probably not a finer house than the Colony outside of downtown.

Patsy on March 6, 2005 at 9:32 pm

Yes, I certainly agree…..“still better than the alternative which is a dark theatre or a wrecking ball”. So there WAS another nice single screen theatre in Shaker Heights? Too bad at least one of them couldn’t have survived as a single screen since it is Shaker Heights, afterall! Believe one of the current American Idol contestants is from Shaker Heights….Scott Savol!

jsomich on March 6, 2005 at 9:16 pm

It is impossible to make a buck with a single screen these days. Couple that with the decline of the neighborhood and you have this result. It is probably still better than the alternative which is a dark theatre or a wrecking ball. This has happened in thousands of instances around the country. Another nice single screen in Shaker Heights (Cleveland) was the Vogue at Van Aken & Warrensville Rds.