Hunt's Cinestage Theatre

217 N. High Street,
Columbus, OH 43215

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MovieMad52
MovieMad52 on March 31, 2014 at 5:34 pm

No Mike, the other theatre it ran was the Hunt’s McCook in Dayton, Ohio.

Mikeoaklandpark
Mikeoaklandpark on February 8, 2013 at 10:28 am

Is this the same Hunt’s theater chain that owned all the movie theaters in Wildwood New Jersey?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on February 7, 2013 at 6:27 pm

Are you sure? I saw it at the Grand Cinerama.

shridere
shridere on February 7, 2013 at 6:23 pm

I saw 2001: A Space Odyssey at Hunt’s Cinestage

Mark_L
Mark_L on April 1, 2012 at 5:47 am

Charles, it could have been any of them…the Ohio, Palace or the Cinestage. According to list on the Grand Cinerama, it did not play there.

SOUND OF MUSIC was not a current release by 1968 and any of these locations could have picked it up as a re-release.

For the record, the original Columbus run was at Northland.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith on March 31, 2012 at 9:36 pm

I’m wondering if Hunt’s Cinestage is the theater that was running “The Sound of Music” at some point in the 1968-1969 time frame — and if not, which downtown Columbus theater might have been the one.

Chevy1950
Chevy1950 on February 6, 2012 at 4:06 pm

I still have the half-ticket stub from when I was 13 and my brother took me to see “Lawrence of Arabia” at Hunt’s Cinestage on September 7th 1963. The wide screen and incredible sound system made me duck when the biplanes first “strafed the audience! I THINK I saw Patton there, too, but not sure.

Mark_L
Mark_L on March 9, 2011 at 8:31 pm

Please do not imply from my post above that there is proof that the projectionist union was responsible for the bombing. To my knowledge, the persons responsible were never apprehended.

Mark_L
Mark_L on March 9, 2011 at 6:52 pm

The bomb exploded on the roof of the building on 4/8/1962. The Projectionist’s Local had struck the theatre on 3/3/62 over wages and working hours. The bomb exploded about 25 minutes after the last employee left the building. It was apparently thrown from an alley adjacent to the theatre. Had it been thrown 4 feet farther, it would have done severe damage to the projection booth.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 18, 2010 at 7:18 pm

Thanks for these posts. Do you know when the bomb was placed?

Mark_L
Mark_L on August 17, 2010 at 9:12 pm

Sorry for the typos in that last post. Sure wish there was an editing tool here.

I hope to do a lot more research on this labor problem with Hunt’s. I’ll post any info I find. There were also labor problems with the Linden theatre at about the same time.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 17, 2010 at 6:08 pm

Thanks Mark for that bit of History.mike Local 629.

Mark_L
Mark_L on August 17, 2010 at 4:22 pm

In the early 60’s, Moving Picture Machine Operators Union #306 ran regualar ads stating that “Hint’s Cinestage Theatre is Unfair to Organized Labor”.

A bomb was placed on the theatre roof during the run of EL CID which damaged 3 dozen windows and tore a 3' hole in the roof. Police were unable to find the bomber.

Ron3853
Ron3853 on February 3, 2007 at 5:28 pm

Films which played at Hunt’s Cinestage from November 1963 through December 1966. Research is from microfilms of Variety and The Columbus Dispatch. The date listed is the Wednesday of the film’s opening week.
Cinestage
11/20/63 Fantasia
12/18/63 Kings of the Sun
02/05/64 Tom Jones
07/15/64 The Fall of the Roman Empire
09/02/64 Becket
12/23/64 My Fair Lady
12/08/65 DARK
12/22/65 The Cincinnati Kid
02/02/66 The Loved One
03/02/66 DARK
03/16/66 The Agony and the Ecstasy
05/18/66 DARK
05/25/66 Doctor Zhivago

“The Longest Day” and “Lawrence of Arabia” played at the Cinestage before “Fantasia” but I don’t yet have the opening dates. Following “Doctor Zhivago,” “Hawaii” played there – again, I haven’t yet gone through the microfilms for 1967’s opening dates yet.

Holiday films included:
1967 – Camelot
1968 – Finian’s Rainbow
1969 – Cactus Flower
1970 – Song of Norway
1971 – Sweet Charity

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 7, 2005 at 1:42 pm

Now I have to correct myself. KenRoe is right — for at least some short time, the Southern Theatre was indeed renamed the Towne Cinema. I just looked at a Columbus Dispatch microfilm from the last week of December, 1972. It had an ad for the Towne with its “new first-run policy”, initially showing the blaxploitation film Trouble Man.

I did not have time to look through later microfilms to see how long the new name and policy lasted — but I don’t think it was very long.

KenRoe
KenRoe on May 11, 2005 at 4:18 am

Ron;
I agree with you, I had a reference from a usually reliable source that it was named the ‘Towne’, but I have now found the 1978 photo of the building still known as the ‘Southern’. So please ignore the statement I made on my May 6th posting.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 11, 2005 at 3:55 am

Are you sure about about the Southern Theatre being renamed the Towne? It was the Southern all the time I lived in Columbus (1968-75), and a 1978 photo still shows it as the Southern.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 9, 2005 at 5:35 am

This theatre is described in an article by Melissa Starker in the weekly newspaper Columbus Alive, October 4, 2001:

A Theater Near You: The Arena Grand revives the tradition of downtown movie palaces

Scroll down to “THE LYCEUM: Burlesque and another ill-fated format.”

According to this article, the last film shown here was Ken Russell’s The Boyfriend.

(By the way, the author of this article once managed the Somerville Theatre near Boston.)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 8, 2005 at 5:28 am

The Columbus Metropolitan Library has an online historic photo collection with several photos of this and other theatres. Enter “Cinestage” into the search form to see six photos.

KenRoe
KenRoe on May 6, 2005 at 4:54 pm

Ron;
The RKO Palace closed as a movie house not long after Hunt’s Cinestage. It went over to live performance and concerts. The Southern Theatre was re-named Towne Theatre and, as you state, continued for some time.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 6, 2005 at 4:20 pm

Which was the last downtown first-run theatre to close — this one, or the RKO Palace?

I recall that the Southern Theatre continued with third-run double features for some years after all other downtown movie houses had closed.

KenRoe
KenRoe on May 6, 2005 at 4:10 pm

This was built on the site of the 1,000 Park Theatre, a playhouse and variety theatre built in 1890, which was destoyed by fire in 1893.

In January 1895 a new theatre, named the High Street Theatre opened, which closed in 1914. Re-named Lyceum Theatre it re-opened as a playhouse but closed again in 1915. It was re-modeled and became the Lyceum Burlesque Theatre and this was very successful until it 1932, when it suffered fire damage. It was quickly re-built but without a balcony and re-opened in October 1932, continuing as the Lyceum Burlesque until 1935.

It then went over to a full time movie theatre re-named the Uptown Theatre with a seating capacity given as 735 and operating as a double feature ‘grind’ policy.

In 1957, Herman Hunt, a local showman, re-modeled the Uptown into Hunt’s Cinestage Theatre which opened with the Todd A-O widescreen movie presentation of “Around the World in 80 Days”. Other movies to play here were “Dr Zhivago”, “Sweet Charity” and “Ben Hur”.

With attendances falling, Hunt’s Cinestage Theatre closed on 19th April 1972 and demolition began on 22nd January 1973.

Proton
Proton on April 23, 2005 at 2:31 pm

I recall the really hot movies showing there exclusively so if I wanted to see one I had to go to Hunt’s. Problem was I hated the place. I have long legs and when sitting for any time, cross them, usually by putting my right anle onto my left knee. This was for some reason forbidden at Hunt’s even thought I never had a problem with it at any other theater. And usher would come down the aisle, flash a light on me and make me sit through the movie with both feet flat on the floor. So it was wait until the picture eventually appeared elsewhere or suffer through it in discomfort. And I was VERY careful not to scuff the back of the seat in front of me.

timcall
timcall on August 28, 2004 at 2:45 pm

i was the projectionist at the cinestage from 1968 to 1971 ,it was a hard ticket house running 70mm untill patton which fox was afraid to make to many 70 prints in case it flopped!i look back on working there as a privilege ,as was personally knowing mrs. hunt

Randall
Randall on April 18, 2004 at 9:07 pm

Hunt’s Cinestage was originally known as THE HIGH ST.THEATRE, THE LYCEUM and then THE UPTOWN. It was not a large house (around 500),but hosted “road shows” like Around the World in 80 Days, Spartacus, Sweet Charity, etc. I remember the interior had a lot of blue. It was located next door to the Chittedan Hotel.