Loew's Broad Theatre

39 W. Broad Street,
Columbus, OH 43215

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Loew's Broad Theatre

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Located across the street from the RKO Palace Theatre and adjacent to the Broadway Theatre in downtown Columbus. The Rialto Theatre was opened on March 28, 1921. It was later known as the James Theatre. Re-named Loew’s Broad Theatre on August 21, 1927, it was closed on March 31, 1961 and was demolished.

An office building now is on the site.

Contributed by Dave

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on November 9, 2004 at 9:12 am

I read an article about Billy James the owner/builder of this theater. In the article it mentions that this theater was first called the Rialto Theater before becoming the James Theater.

“ After a few years, the success of the Broadway prompted Billy James to begin planning another venture nearby. Recognizing that the motion picture was rapidly moving beyond the flickers of the early nickelodeons, James built a large new theatre designed for the movies just to the west of the Broadway. Originally opened as the Rialto, the theatre was renamed the James. At 3,000 seats, it was the largest motion picture theatre in the city when it was built.

Featuring a large electric sign with more than 3,000 lights and one of the most impressive pipe organs in the Midwest, the James was a wonder to behold when it opened in 1921.

For all its glitter and glamour, the James Theatre had a relatively short life by that name. James sold his theatre to Loew’s and United Artists, who opened it as the Broad in 1927. Billy James died in 1941. His theatre lasted another 20 years, finally closing in 1961. It was torn down to make way for the Huntington Trust building that now occupies the site".

Hibi
Hibi on January 7, 2005 at 12:03 pm

Would’ve liked to have seen what this theater looked like, but it was long gone before I came here. It sounds much bigger than the Palace across the street.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 9, 2005 at 6:08 am

The Columbus Metropolitan Library has an online historic photo collection with several photos of this and other theatres.

Broadway Theatre and James Theatre, side by side. The Broadway closed in 1929; the James became Loew’s Broad.

Loew’s Broad Theatre, 1960. The marquee advertises a live magic show, plus a double feature of Studs Lonigan and The Pusher.

Click on the thumbnails to see full-size photos.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 9, 2005 at 6:33 am

One more Loew’s Broad photo from the library collection:

Busloads of people flocked to Loew’s Broad Theatre in 1956 to see “The Ten Commandments”.

Click on the thumbnail to see a full-size photo.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 9, 2005 at 6:47 am

And one last Loew’s Broad photo, from 1957. This one shows lots of school buses lined up, some double-parked, outside the theatre whose marquee displays “The Ten Commandments”.

Across the street is the RKO Palace marquee, advertising Alan Ladd in “Big Land”, and a second feature of “Wicked Wife”.

Hibi
Hibi on August 18, 2005 at 4:59 am

Thanks for all the info!

Lost Memory
Lost Memory on September 20, 2007 at 7:38 pm

A Kimball theater organ size 3/15 was installed in the James Theater in 1921.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on December 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Interesting that vertical in the photo posted by ken mc on May 15,2006 reads Loews and United Artists.

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on May 29, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Nice 1927 ad posted on the photo page today.

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