Center Mayfield Theatre

3909 Mayfield Road,
Cleveland Heights, OH 44121

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electric_paul
electric_paul on February 21, 2014 at 1:44 am

Have not lived in Cleveland for many years, but lived on Inglewood Drive, about 2-3 miles from the Center Mayfield in the 1950’s. Went there often in the summer months to get out of the heat (“Cooled by Refrigeration”), as none of the older houses in Cleveland Heights had air conditioning. The Center Mayfield was still in pretty good shape in those days, though the seats were likely original, and were pretty worn. In my High School years, I lived in Pepper Pike, and one of my neighborhood friend’s dad used to leave for work a bit after we got home from school everyday. He always wore a Tux to work, so finally asked my friend, Bill, what he did for a job. Turns out he was the Manager of the Center Mayfield!

Though there were theaters closer to home, went to the Center Mayfield several time in the 1960’s, watching the movie from the projection booth several times. As I recall, the had two older projectors (either Century or Simplex, and an pretty old Altec sound system (likely feeding one or two Altec Voice-of-the-Theater speakers). In 1964, I was actually able to (secretly) plug into that sound system and record the entire soundtrack of Goldfinger on Reel-to-Reel tape (Goldfinger was likely in it’s 2nd or 3rd run by then)… Also was able to get two large Goldfinger posters, as the movie was old enough that distributer wasn’t too picky about getting them back. Of course, the poster that I really wanted was the 3-D acrylic poster for 2001, but that one, they definitely wanted back.

My most vivid memory of the Center Mayfield was going to see “A Hard Days Night” the 2nd or 3rd day after it opened. This was the only time I can remember the C-M actually being sold out! We sat through the movie twice (you could do that in the 1960’s), but still had absolutely no idea of any of the dialog of the movie. The volume of a packed house of screaming girls totally drowned out the little Altec sound system!

Sorry for getting carried away with this commentary, but seems such a shame that most of these classic movie houses are in ruins. Here in Orange County, California, the Fox in Fullerton, is slowly coming back to life. It had four feet of water in the “pit” when they started!

Any of you still in the area have an update on Cleveland Heights or the Center Mayfield????

bonitadave
bonitadave on January 29, 2013 at 8:28 pm

Grew up about 6 blocks from the C-M…on Parkhill. Saw my first horror film there with my dad (after he gave in). The Giant Claw and Jet Pilot…double header sometime around 1956 or 1957… Didn’t sleep for two weeks! I recently found the Giant Claw on a movie download site and showed it to my grand kids… They loved it – at first but then said that the bird was really creepy.

DanT
DanT on March 22, 2012 at 6:33 pm

I grew up about two miles away, within walking distance. I remember ~1975 one Saturday they had a Planet of the Apes marathon and we hung out at the theater the whole afternoon. Another memory was seeing the original Carrie film in a packed house on a Saturday night, with the whole audience jumping in reaction to the dream sequence at the very end. I miss that kind of communal movie experience (along with the grandeur, huge screen and sound of the old theatre). The bathrooms were upstairs; you walked up the Art Deco steps that split to separate staircases; the bathrooms had one of those old scales with the mirror that “told you your fortune.”

I actually worked there when I was 18 (1981), taking tickets and watching the parking lot across the street sometimes. The original theatre was intact then; I was told the seating was 1400 but that may be incorrect based on other postings here. I visited the video store in the early 90’s and the public space of that store only encompassed the front ‘ramp’ and lobby space, blocking off the actual theatre space. I know they auctioned off seats and such before then but I never saw the theatre space after it closed. Probably just as well!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 8, 2012 at 11:08 am

There is a photo of the auditorium of the Center Mayfield Theatre at the upper right corner of this page of Boxoffice, November 14, 1936.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith on January 4, 2012 at 8:18 pm

Saw a number of films here during my college years in University Circle. A couple I’ve always remembered are “Bonnie and Clyde” and “The French Connection”. I think the latter played here during its first run.

There was an Int'l House of Pancakes (early IHOP) across the street, and somewhere in the area, a Royal Castle (White Castle style joint popular in the 1960s). I mention these because they’re inseparable from my movie-going memories here.

rlausche
rlausche on August 4, 2011 at 4:27 am

The 600 figure was for the middle screen after it was made into three. Sylvia Sheer (hope I got the name spelled right) was the manager of it after the Vogue closed. I was a good friend of hers. The center mayfield had a different owner from the Cedar Lee when it was build. The Cedar Lee was origially owned by Community Ciruit. I worked for the Cleveland Press and know most of the theater managers in Cleveland.

spectrum
spectrum on December 8, 2010 at 4:58 am

The Google views are inconclusive now – can’t really see what is written on the marquee but it looks probably vacant. I don’t think the video store ever occupied the auditorium and from the air the roof looks in terrible shape – with holes clearly showing. It’s a big wide auditorium so I think the 1,200 seat figure is accurate. Maybe it had been cut to 600 later when it was triplexed.

Toby
Toby on May 10, 2010 at 2:16 am

I mentioned the Center Mayfield as a “sister theatre” to the Cedar Lee because Cleveland Cinemas operated it in the 1980’s and 1990’s before it closed.

buckguy
buckguy on December 9, 2009 at 4:21 am

The Center Mayfield was a first run theatre for most of its life and started showing lower priced second run films during the mid 1970s. It was unrelated to the Cedar-Lee, which was an art house by the early 70s.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on September 7, 2009 at 10:22 pm

I wonder why the Center Mayfield is considered as a “sister” theater to the Cedar Lee; I believe the Cedar Lee is considerably older, perhaps by as much as a decade. The interiors and lobby were very different in terms of their original decor, and the Cedar Lee had a raised section at the back of the original auditorium (now sub-divided), something like today’s stadium seating, whereas the Center Mayfield had all the seats on the same sloping floor. The Center Mayfield’s seating capacity was also much larger than that of the Cedar Lee. The 600 seat capacity, as noted above, I do not believe to be accurate; take a look at the picture of the auditorium posted by Warren G. Harris above. The 1,200 figure quoted by Joe Vogel is far more likely. The Center Mayfield was much more like the Richmond Theater in Lyndhurst, especially in terms of its auditorium.

cam17
cam17 on September 7, 2009 at 6:34 pm

This theater holds a lot of significance for me. I spent my early childhood in Cleveland Heights and saw many classic movies at Center Mayfield. I saw Rocky on opening night when I was about six. I remember the line went down the sidewalk and around the corner. I also saw Star Wars, the Muppet movie and some weird documentary called Beyond and Back. I’m glad someone posted that 1982 photo, which is how I remember this place.

I haven’t lived in Cleveland for a long time, but I was there last summer on business. I had to drive by the theater. I was sad to see it closed. The Hollywood video signs were stil up, but the place was vacant. The marquee was still out there, though.

Who knows, maybe someone will buy it and restore it to its former glory. Anyways, the words “Center Mayfield” will always mean movies to me.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 23, 2009 at 8:22 am

The Center Mayfield Theatre opened in 1936, and was (as noted by Warren in comments above) designed by architect George B. Mayer. The Art Moderne auditorium seated 1,200 patrons, and a photo of it appeared in the November 11, 1936, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 22, 2009 at 2:55 am

On the Google photo there is a store closing banner. A lot of Hollywood Video locations went under last year. That store is no longer listed on the HV site.

spectrum
spectrum on September 28, 2008 at 8:37 pm

The above link doesn’t work. Try this instead:

View link

Nice, art-moderne single-level design. I got an exterior shot in 1985; may be able to post it sometime.

Warren G. Harris
Warren G. Harris on November 11, 2007 at 3:17 pm

George B. Mayer was architect of the Center-Mayfield. Here’s an auditorium view copied from a 1939 trade journal: www.i8.photobucket.com/albums/a18/Warrengwhiz/centermay.jpg

rogers
rogers on October 5, 2004 at 9:30 pm

During the 1950s, the Center-Mayfield was owned and managed by Joe Rembrandt, who also owned the Ellet Theatre in Akron.