Drexel Theatre

2254 E. Main Street,
Bexley, OH 43209

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Showing 1 - 25 of 32 comments

Mark_L on March 3, 2016 at 4:03 pm

Closing March 14, 2016 for a few weeks (likely reopening in June) for remodeling of marquee, doors, flooring and concessions counter.

KevinRouch on January 25, 2015 at 8:32 pm

We kept one 35mm projector in our big theater, which we have used for the 24-Hour Horror and Sci-Fi Marathons and other events. We have two others in storage. Never fear – 35mm will never leave the Drexel!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on January 5, 2013 at 11:25 am

I’d hope they are headed for another theatre and not a scrapyard!

How will the Drexel ever show old movies if they no longer have any projectors?

Keith on January 5, 2013 at 11:20 am

I pull up to the drexel today and see the 35mm projectors in the back of a pick-up truck headed to the scrap yard. End of an era.

Keith on October 23, 2012 at 8:40 pm

Today, the box office revenue is up, content has never been better, and aajor renovation is being planned including a new roof, digital sound and projection, and, yes, new bathrooms. Part of a letter from the Chairman of the Board

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on March 18, 2011 at 7:38 am

CAPA are good folks, who got their start by saving the historic Ohio Theatre downtown back in 1969. They even have a little experience in movie exhibition, with the Ohio’s summer film series.

CSWalczak on March 18, 2011 at 7:31 am

The Drexel has been acquired by a not-for-profit group that will use the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) to manage the theater: View link.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on July 12, 2010 at 3:49 am

I always liked the idea that Columbus could have its own local chain of art houses and didn’t have to depend on Landmark like other parts of the US. (Not the Landmark lasted very long either when they had their chance….)

meheuck on July 12, 2010 at 3:45 am

In the case of Grandview, the Drexel operators had a dispute with the landlord and chose to leave the operation; a former employee decided to make a new deal with the owner of the building and renovate/reopen the theatre.

In the case of the Arena Grand and the Gateway, Jeff Frank was hired by the developers of those commercial districts to design the theatres, as well as book, staff, and run them. After a few years, I can only fathom that the developers thought they could find people to do the job better than Jeff, and dispensed with his services. Granted, I am prejudiced because I had a long and happy relationship working for him, but I have always felt it was rather rude and unceremonious of these consortiums to cut him out after he contributed so much time and energy in launching their theatres.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on July 12, 2010 at 3:28 am

By the way, the Arena Grand is not listed here at CinemaTreasures. Would someone local to Columbus like to add it?

CSWalczak on July 12, 2010 at 12:45 am

This now appears to be the sole remaining Drexel operation; their former Gateway is now independent (after a brief time as a Landmark theater), as are their former Arena Grand and Grandview theaters. I wonder why they have so much trouble making a go of things.

meheuck on July 11, 2010 at 11:00 pm

The Drexel Theatre facade also provides the base for the cover painting of the Mark Knopfler compilation album of movie score music “Screenplaying,” though specific details that would i.d. the theatre have been altered. When I worked there, I was flattered that somebody at the record label was a fan of the theatre, but annoyed that they never credited us as the source of the image.

monika on June 23, 2009 at 3:01 pm

Here’s a picture I took of the Drexel Theatre projection booth if anyone is interested: View link

kpdennis on April 26, 2009 at 12:04 am

The Drexel in 1996 – the manager/owner can be seen in the lower right corner in the hat and white shirt:
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 8, 2009 at 10:46 pm

An item in the September 18, 1937, issue of Boxoffice Magazine announced that construction had begun on William Chesbrough’s new Drexel Theatre. The new house was expected to open around January 1.

A paragraph published under the heading “Columbus” in the February 5, 1938, issue of Boxoffice Magazine indicates the sort of promotions theaters did in those days. It says “Wm. Chesbrough’s new Drexel Theatre presented "Brownie,” the educated dog, in a free show for children. Every boy and girl was asked to leave their name, date of birth and address for a Birthday Club which is to be started soon."

I’ve been unable to discover the architect of the Drexel, but as the house was in suburban Columbus, I’m wondering if perhaps it was designed and built by the F&Y Building Services, headquartered in that city and responsible for the creation of dozens of deco-moderne theaters in the region from the late 1930s on? It certainly resembles some of F&Y’s work.

monika on March 25, 2009 at 3:49 pm

Posting to get this theatre back on my “notifications” list….

RichM on June 6, 2008 at 9:22 am

Saw some french art film, for high school art class here, and little else, although went to college and worked in Bexley in mid 80s.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on April 23, 2008 at 9:51 am

Again, linking to images is perfectly legal, Warren.

This exact issue has been litigated in many countries around the world… and the result has always been that courts find such linking to be legal.

You’re welcome to disagree, but our policy isn’t up for discussion. I respect your point of view, but please refrain from trying to “police” the site for us.

That’s my job. ;)

HowardBHaas on April 23, 2008 at 8:19 am

So this website is now a “Punch & Judy” show, a public feud between Warren & Lost Memory?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 23, 2008 at 7:58 am

I think the owners of CinemaTreasures should remove all comments on this page from “Apr 22, 2008 at 1:44pm” forward, as they are irrelevant to the Drexel. Also, it doesn’t matter who owns a Flickr scrapbook, only that the scrapbook is public.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 23, 2008 at 6:45 am

This is the Internet. Anyone can post a link to anywhere else at any time. If the owner of the photo did not want it linked to, he would have made it private.

Patrick Crowley
Patrick Crowley on April 22, 2008 at 1:59 pm

Warren, linking to copyrighted images is okay. Please stop bugging people about this.

These links are perfectly okay from a legal point of view, and there’s no policy against making such links on Cinema Treasures.

And I’m sure Flickr doesn’t mind the traffic we give them either.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on April 22, 2008 at 1:52 pm

So what? You can link to anything.

pjason on February 25, 2008 at 4:56 pm

Watched the 25th anniversary rerelease of “The Godfather” here in ‘97.Had a great time,loved the theater.Unfortunately haven’t made it back since.

HowardBHaas on September 25, 2007 at 4:19 pm

NY Times article-
In this pleasant Ohio place called Bexley, in this Midwest place close to neither New York nor Los Angeles, a boy named Rupert calls his grandfather George. His grandfather’s name is Jeff.

Rupert, who is 2 years old, bears no blame for this mistake because his grandfather introduced himself as George before the boy could form words, and has insisted on being called George ever since. The man has his reasons.

In Bexley, a leafy old suburb of the sprawling capital city of Columbus, everyone plays a role. Maybe you answer questions at the Bexley Public Library. Maybe you tend bar at the Bexley Monk. Maybe you fill prescriptions at the Bexley CVS, paying close attention to details.

George, whose full name is Jeff Frank, runs the old movie theater in town, the Drexel, and has done so for 26 years. He is 56 now, bald and bespectacled, settled and successful. Still, he cannot help but wonder what might have been had he not been seduced long ago by the Drexel’s red-neon call: those bright lights dazzling the East Main Street sidewalk; that Art Deco sleekness; the faint echoes of here’s looking at you, kid.

What might have been had he not shrugged one day and thought: “Well, I love the movies. Why not run a movie theater?”

The day the Drexel opened on Christmas 1937, certain Columbus lights winked with the promise of cheap escape. Come stand beside the “Stage Door,” or find momentary serenity in “Lost Horizon,” all at neighborhood places that were not as grand as, say, that downtown palace, the Ohio, but were still magical portals to someplace else.

Eddie Cantor, that apostle of pep, was mugging it up in “Ali Baba Goes to Town” down at the Thurmania; the theater is now an art gallery and gift shop. Jimmy Savo was bounding about in “Merry-Go-Round of 1938” at the Main; it is now a cavernous medical center, absent of anyone who might remember the little clown named Jimmy.

Warner Baxter, a box-office draw at the very beginning of his career’s decline, was leading the cast of “Vogues of 1938” at the Hollywood; it now houses three empty stores whose awnings say Jihad’s Gifts, African Heritage Shop, and Zawadi Children’s Books, Jewelry, Oils, Etc. The owner of the mini-mart next door says his place used to be a bar, as if to suggest things change, so what.

And Shirley Temple, whose hair featured exactly 56 curls, was melting a cranky grandfather’s heart in “Heidi” at the tiny Wilmar. Marc Eller, the property’s owner, says he had the theater torn down 20 years ago for a parking lot.

“I curse that now,” he says, as he presents old photos of the theater that he keeps in a plastic bag. “It had the little hexagonal tiles, and the projection booth…”

The Drexel, though, survived. It opened that Depression Christmas with Sally Blane, Loretta Young’s sister, in “One Mile from Heaven,” and kept its screen flickering through the decades. By 1981 it had lost much of its luster, and was showing bargain movies just to survive, but it always managed to catch the eye of a young man with plans named Jeff Frank.

Mr. Frank had grown up not far from here, giving his Saturdays and more than a few of his high school days to the cool darkness of his neighborhood movie theater, the now-gone vessel by which he traveled to the moon, to the Old West, to places far from Columbus. After graduating from a university only an hour away, he returned with a degree in film studies and a plan to leave as soon as possible.

“Go to Hollywood! Go to New York!” he says. “Be involved in the film industry. Be a part of it.”

Mr. Frank never left Columbus. He worked in an art museum, where he met his future wife, Kathy Wooley; her favorite western is “Red River,” his the “The Searchers.” He then became the assistant director at the restored Ohio Theatre, with a daily commute that took him past the Drexel.

One day the Franks rolled the dice of life and bought the Drexel. They closed it down for 30 days of restoration, removed the hundreds of plastic flowers that hid its Art Deco grandeur, and reopened with a screening of “Top Hat” that included a personal appearance by Herself, Ginger Rogers. Movie history was made â€" at least in Columbus.

Over the years, at the Drexel and a handful of theaters, the Franks became masters of promotion, purveyors of escape, always with an emphasis on art films and the classics. They provided free passes to those who wore red shoes to “The Red Shoes,” offered Shirley Temple movies for children on summer Saturdays, invited people to dress up for “Casablanca” and sing when the band at Rick’s strikes up “La Marseillaise.”

As Mr. Frank became the local Mr. Movie, he came to think of himself as a sort of George Bailey, who never fulfills his dream of leaving Bedford Falls, yet comes to realize that remaining in his hometown is his passage to a wonderful life. So Rupert calls his grandfather George.

Now and then Mr. Frank travels to a film festival, but mostly he stays here, fully aware of his role as an escort into the imagination. “For a short time,” he says, “you take people someplace they’ve never been to before.”

Another night has fallen on the quiet streets of Bexley. The lights of the Drexel beckon. And a man called George is selling tickets for the 3:10 to Yuma.