Esquire Theatre

3016 E. Broad Street,
Columbus, OH 43209

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DennisBee
DennisBee on September 28, 2014 at 9:21 am

The Esquire, as well as the Drexel, were my “neighborhood theatres” when I was growing up. Although the first movie I recall being taken to was, in fact, SLEEPING BEAUTY downtown (I always thought it was at the Loew’s Ohio, but I was five; it well could have been Hunt’s Cinestage, especially since, with the exception of the road-shown SLEEPING BEAUTY, Disney films tended to play at the RKO Palace, an arrangement no doubt stemming from RKO’s longtime releasing of Disney films before Disney founded its own distributor, BuenaVista, in 1954).

The first movie I remember seeing at the Esquire was CINDERFELLA, with Jerry Lewis, in early 1961. Throughout the 1960s, the Esquire played second-run movies mostly. I had my first viewings of THE SOUND OF MUSIC, BEN-HUR, LAWRENCE OF ARABIA (the 1971 reissue), and PATTON. After the theatre was remodeled, with a name change to Carousel East, the first film I saw there was CABARET in the Summer of 1972.

Unlike the Drexel, which enjoyed a distinguished turn as a first-run house from 1967 to the end of the 1970s, the Esquire, built for the old system of downtown palaces and what VARIETY termed “sub-run” “nabes,” never found its niche in the age of suburban first-run multi-plexes.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith on February 5, 2013 at 6:37 pm

I was in Beechwood Elementary in 4th and 5th grades.

kenreiff6
kenreiff6 on February 5, 2013 at 2:03 pm

I taught at Whitehall in 1960!!!!

ChasSmith
ChasSmith on February 5, 2013 at 8:53 am

Right. I’ve been trying to nail down where on the east side we kids were taken to see it. We were living in Whitehall, and I' m pretty certain it was nearby. I remember GRAND CANYON was still with it.

Mark_L
Mark_L on February 5, 2013 at 8:42 am

In Columbus, SLEEPING BEAUTY opened exclusively at the downtown Hunt’s Cinestage on March 19, 1959, playing with the short subject, GRAND CANYON, and replacing SOUTH PACIFIC. Final date was May 20, 1959, replaced by 80 Days “at popular prices”.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith on February 5, 2013 at 8:14 am

kenreiff6, would you remember if the Esquire played Disney’s Sleeping Beauty in its first run — 1958?

kenreiff6
kenreiff6 on February 5, 2013 at 8:03 am

Another thought. I worked as janitor, usher, ticket taker, concession clerk, marquee sign, etc and assistant manager, 1956-1959, at the Esquire and later manager of the Drexel for a year. It was unbelievable what the girls would write in lipstick and that stuff was near impossible to remove from mirrors and stall doors/walls. The items of bras, panties, made one wonder if the film was viewed at all-yep indoors.

kenreiff6
kenreiff6 on February 5, 2013 at 7:52 am

All I know is that when my wife and I went back to Columbus in 1988 the Esquire was torn down. Her family lived on Broadmoor so we were in the area quite a bit.

Mark_L
Mark_L on February 5, 2013 at 5:10 am

Likely closed during the last half of 1987.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 5, 2013 at 4:54 am

Do you happen to know when it closed?

Mark_L
Mark_L on January 21, 2013 at 2:10 pm

This theater opened as the Carrousel East on 3/26/1972. It was changed to Carousel East on 4/9, but the display ads did not show a change until 4/21/1972. I’ve never found any explanation for that small change.

Billinuk
Billinuk on August 21, 2012 at 1:17 pm

I grew up three blocks from the Esquire and from about the age of 6 through to 9 I spent almost every Saturday afternoon there. The admission price was 50 cents ( The Drexel was 35 cents) . I can remember seeing all sorts of horror movies there as well as a double feature of Gigi and Lili. And for some reason or another Rory Calhoun in The Colosses of Rhodes was a major event ( for me) at the Esquire. Whenever they didn’t have a one sheet for the theatre’s next attraction they put in a poster for “Night Train to Munich” after a few months of seeing the poster on and off I remember I begged the woman in the Box office to tell me if they were ever going to show it. I don’t remember her response.

kenreiff6
kenreiff6 on May 11, 2010 at 5:43 am

Wow, thanks so much for the link on Jerry. He is the gentleman I worked for while attending Capital U across the street. Without his help in giving me and my wife a job; probably no way I could have completed my education at Capital. A wonderful gentleman.
Second comment. Attended my 50th graduation from Capital U class reunion on April 22, 2010. Was great to see Professor Arthur Grossman had been inducted into the Professsor’s Hall of Fame.
He managed the Esquire theater for quite some time—he was there from 1956 to 1959 for sure. I don’t know when he started workng there.

cc213t
cc213t on May 10, 2010 at 11:04 am

Jeff Frank acquired the Drexel from Jerry Knight. A very interesting interview about Mr. Knight:
View link

kenreiff6
kenreiff6 on April 17, 2010 at 4:34 am

Jeff, can you tell me the name of the person your bought the Drexel from or the owner in 1960-61. He treated my wife and me so very well espcially when our child was born. Quite a guy. Thanks

Keith
Keith on April 16, 2010 at 11:35 am

Jeff Frank owner of the Drexel has some memories to share in this weeks e-mail newsletter.
The Sci-Fi Marathon, now in its 27th year, is the closest thing to my memories of Saturday matinee’s at the Esquire Theatre on East Broad St. in the late 50’s. We lived minutes away and collect pop bottles on the way to the cinema, cashing them in for 2 cents each to pay for admission and snacks. I remember getting a choice of cubes or crushed ice in your drink (the Esquire had a pop machine in the lobby). . On Saturday matinees you’d come early and stay all day to view at least three feature films, (sometimes five!), cartoons and combinations of such film serial favorites as Superman, the Blackhawks, Flash Gordon and many many more â€" all for 50 cents. You’d see three Japanese monster films (Gozilla was always the headliner) or a horror triple-bill of The Mummy, Frankenstein and The Wolfman, and the theatre was always filled with young thrill-seekers ready to have their hair stand on end.

kenreiff6
kenreiff6 on March 11, 2010 at 3:56 pm

Re: The note from ChasSmith? The Bexeley was an art theater and I doubt very seriously that they showed Sleeping Beauty.

kenreiff6
kenreiff6 on March 10, 2010 at 6:25 pm

Sure. The term came from New York City where there were numerous theaters in row. As you probably know, the film came in cans-4 reels to a can if I remember correctly. On long and expensive films
(Ben Hur/South Pacific, etc) there were usually 3 cans. The first theater would start the film and run 2 reels (40 minutes) The person responsible to get those to the next theater would put the can in his bicyle basket and pedal to the next theater and so on. The reels were cyled through up to as many as 4 theaters. You could actually see the bikes with the cans. That way the owners would only have to pay for 1 film instead of 3 or 4. In the case of the Esquire I used my car not bike and took the film back and forth. Sometimes, in the winter it became a challange and on a couple of occasions the theater went blank until I got there. Noted above from Mark L. I delivered to either the Drexel/Livingston theaters and occasionally to the theater across from Ohio State U. Can’t remember the name.
occasionally to the theater across

from Ohio State (cant remember the name).

Mark_L
Mark_L on March 10, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Congratulations on your 50th.

I remember a time in the early ‘60s when I went to a film at the Livingston Theatre and the film had not arrived. They had to get the film with the Esquire. There were a couple of delays, but, eventually, we saw the whole film.

Could you explain exactly what you mean by “bicycling”?

kenreiff6
kenreiff6 on March 10, 2010 at 5:44 pm

I worked at the Esquire from 1956 to 1960 then moved to manage the Drexel on Main across from Capital U in 1960-61. At the Esquire I did all the jobs except projectionist (union). Bicyled films for Ben Hur, South Pacific, Sleeping Beauty, Oklahoma, etc. Worked as janitor, concession, ticket sales, usher, ticket taker, and managed the theater for late shows. The manager at the time was Professor Arthur Grossman from Capital University. I met my wife at the Esquire in 1959. We are celebrating our 50th this year. Any photos of the theater would be appreciated.
If you want more info about the theater contact me. Gulf Station next door. A lot of kids from Eastmoor High School.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith on September 30, 2009 at 5:51 pm

Interesting! I’ve also wondered if the Bexley might have been the one to have had it in that part of town. I think that about covers the possibilities.

Mark_L
Mark_L on September 30, 2009 at 5:31 pm

ChasSmith, I think there is a possibility that the SLEEPING BEAUTY screening was at the Drexel on Main Street. I went to at least one special Disney screenings there for a Disney movie about Antarctica and the short PAUL BUNYON. I also remember they gave everyone a free Mars bar!

Mark_L
Mark_L on September 29, 2009 at 11:11 am

The Esquire did operate during that time. It did not run the 70mm Technirama version…that was at Hunts Cinestage downtown. The Esquire did not have 70mm equipment, to my knowledge. But it is possible that it ran the film during any wider release.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith on September 29, 2009 at 10:45 am

Was the Esquire operating through the 1950s/1960s?

Is there any chance that it ran Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” on its first release in 1959?