RKO Grand Theatre

57 East State Street,
Columbus, OH 43215

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RKO Grand

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Originally opened in 1887, with a tall, dark red brick ornate facade. From the looks of a 1960 photograph of the auditorium, it received an Art Moderne style renovation, probably in the early 1940’s, with horizontal ridges along the side-walls.

Located in downtown Columbus on Capitol Square, this theater was in the same block as the Ohio and Hartman Theaters. This was the main Cinerama screen in Columbus before being demolished in 1969 for a Hyatt Hotel, along with the Hartman and almost the Ohio Theater at the same time.

Contributed by Dave

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

Ron3853
Ron3853 on February 3, 2007 at 4:29 pm

Part of the history of a great motion picture theater is the films that played there. Listed below are the films which played at the RKO Grand in Columbus, Ohio from March 1963 to December 1966. Research is from microfilms of Variety and The Columbus Dispatch. The date listed is the Wednesday of the film’s opening week.

RKO Grand
03/06/63 The Best of Cinerama
04/10/63 How the West Was Won
02/12/64 DARK
02/19/64 It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
08/12/64 Circus World
10/14/64 Topkapi
12/23/64 It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
02/03/65 Marriage, Italian Style
04/14/65 Major Dundee
05/05/65 Lawrence of Arabia
05/12/65 Die! Die! My Darling/The Notorious Landlady
05/19/65 The Cardinal/The Wackiest Ship in the Army
05/26/65 Mister Moses
06/02/65 Masquerade
06/09/65 Oceans 11/The Days of Wine and Roses
06/16/65 Splendor in the Grass/Palm Springs Weekend
06/23/65 Ride the Wild Surf/The Mouse That Roared
06/30/65 The Hallelujah Trail
10/06/65 The Greatest Story Ever Told
01/26/66 Battle of the Bulge
05/11/66 Mediterranean Holiday
06/29/66 Khartoum
09/21/66 The Blue Max
01/18/67 Russian Adventure

Films which played is subsequent weeks will be listed in subsequent posts as research is completed. ‘Grand Prix" followed “Russian Adventure”, and the theater’s holiday films in subsequent years were:
1967 – Far From the Madding Crowd
1968 – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Mark_L
Mark_L on November 18, 2008 at 4:12 pm

In July, 1965, RKO sub-leased the GRAND to Trans-Beacon Theatres. In ads, the theatre was listed as both a Beacon theatre and a Trans-Beacon theatre.

Contrary to information above, the theatre closed on May 13, 1969 following the run of ICE STATION ZEBRA and was destroyed by fire on January 8, 1970. The 3-strip presentation were from 11/3/60 until 2/11/64. (The previous poster reversed some digits). This information confirmed through Columbus Dispatch microfilm records.

rivest266
rivest266 on September 7, 2009 at 6:38 pm

Trans-Beacon had theatres in Fresno CA, Chicago IL, and leased the Imperial Cinerama from Famous Players in Montréal,QC. any more?

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on September 7, 2009 at 9:06 pm

I think Trans-Beacon also operated the Cinestage and Michael Todd theaters in Chicago in the later 1960s and early 70s.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on September 7, 2009 at 9:09 pm

Oh, and also the Golden Gate in San Francisco when it was a Cinerama house, if memory serves.

Ron3853
Ron3853 on January 29, 2010 at 5:24 pm

Addendum to my earlier posting above. (I completed more research while visiting Columbus last weekend.)
02/15/67 Grand Prix
09/13/67 Mediterranean Holiday
10/04/67 James Joyce’s “Ulysses"
11/01/67 The Comedians
12/06/67 Enter Laughing
12/13/67 The Love-Ins
12/20/67 Far from the Madding Crowd
02/07/68 Custer of the West
03/13/68 Sol Madrid
03/20/68 A Man Called Dagger
03/27/68 Samson and Delilah
04/03/68 Guns for San Sebastian
04/17/68 A Stranger in Town
05/01/68 Day of the Evil Gun
05/08/68 The Double Man
05/15/68 Doctor Zhivago
06/12/68 2001: A Space Odyssey
04/02/69 Ice Station Zebra
05/14/69 CLOSED PERMANENTLY

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on June 23, 2010 at 9:50 am

Very interesting history and photos.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 4, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Is that excavation for the State House Annex?

Mark_L
Mark_L on December 4, 2010 at 5:33 pm

The GRAND ran HOW THE WEST WAS WON from April, 1963 until February, 1964, so that picture had to be taken during that period. That is the Underground Parking Garage.

Mark_L
Mark_L on July 18, 2012 at 8:56 am

Thanks for that, Tinseltoes. You are uncovering some real gems in your search of the old Boxoffice magazines. I’ll add that to my collection of info on this theatre.

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