Standard Theatre

811 Prospect Avenue,
Cleveland, OH 44114

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Standard Theatre April 16, 1995

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This downtown Cleveland theatre, which was sort of out of the way on Prospect Avenue, was opened in 1914 as the Standard Theatre. In later years it was mainly a venue for adult pornographic films, although it had shown mainstream films early in its life. The Standard Theatre closed in the mid-1980’s. The theatre had shown black-oriented action films briefly in the early-1980’s.

Contributed by Toby Radloff

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

Hibi on January 10, 2005 at 12:54 pm

How big was the Standard? Any idea? Medium size? Was there a balcony?

jsomich on January 10, 2005 at 1:13 pm

The Standard was rather small. I would guess about 800 seats. There was NO balcony. This was a very basic theatre. The operator could walk out of the booth and overlook the lobby. There was a large opening in the wall just outside the booth. During the latter X-rated days, there was only the barest of concessions. I believe popcorn was free! There was a double-bill with the bottom half usually being almost unwatchable. But, as far as I know, the Standard never resorted to “loops.” They were always real movies. Everything was 35mm.

chspringer on May 6, 2005 at 5:26 pm

The Standard shared Prospect Ave with the Hippodrome’s secondary box office. The two theaters were on the same side of the street a block apart. When I walked by the theater in the mid to late fifties it had already closed. Some time in 1958 or 59 it reopened as a German Language theatre. I moved from Cleveland in so don’t know how long that lasted.

SaburoMontfort on July 16, 2005 at 1:28 pm

I was one of the last people to walk into the Standard theatre back in the early part of the 1990’s on a Friday afternoon. I was with a closed friend who is in the general contracting business and he had to walk through the building to give an estimate to the present land owner. I remember a photographer being inside the building at the time shooting a large format 4x5 camera of the stage area where the screen was previously located. I asked him why he was taking pictures and he said that they had commissioned him to take the pictures for historic documentation and records. I recall the amazing architecture and well worn red seating. There was an old Altec-Lansing voice of the theatre speaker sitting a few feet back from where the screen was located. If the Photographer had not been there with his quartz flood lighting, I would not have seen such detail. The theatre seemed very small but I realized that it opened in the time of silent movies. Even more amazing and upsetting, they started demolition the very next day on Saturday. If I had known that they were going to demolish the theatre, I probably would have stayed much longer. My friend was in a rush that day and I did not get the opportunity to view the projection room. I had visions of seeing old Western Electric 91A equipment with etched based 300A tube treasures! So much for dreams! To this day, the new building that replaced the old theatre has never been occupied.

kencmcintyre on April 30, 2008 at 8:18 pm

Lido Theater should be listed as an aka.

Hibi on April 24, 2009 at 8:54 am

LOL. By the 80’s unless you looked closely you wouldnt know a theater was there.

chspringer on April 25, 2009 at 11:56 am

Posting to re-link notification :(

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 12, 2010 at 8:06 am

It must have been the Standard, as yet unnamed, that was the subject of an item in The Motion Picture World of January 3, 1914. It said: “The largest motion picture house in downtown Cleveland is planned by Joseph Grossman… who has arranged to lease a building to be erected for him… at the rear of the O'Brien Building, 813 Prospect Avenue. Architect M.B. Vorce is preparing plans for a structure that will accommodate between 700 and 800 persons.”

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 13, 2012 at 8:12 am

Here is a bit more information about the Standard Theatre, from the July 15, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World:

“The Standard Theater, 813 Prospect avenue, is one of the largest and most popular of the downtown picture theaters in Cleveland. Joseph Grossman, who with his wife operates the theater, opened it just two years ago. The Standard was the first downtown house to charge ten cents admission, and is the only house which runs its entire program for a week. Grossman books Fox first run features with twenty-one days protection, and declares his S. R. O. sign works overtime. The Standard seats 700.

“When Grossman opened the Standard, failure was predicted because of the fact that the entrance to the house is one of the longest in the city. Grossman overcame this allegedly objectionable feature by artistic treatment of the entrance. In observance of his second anniversary, he has just had the lobby transformed into a rose bower, by the use of trellis work and thousands of artificial flowers.”

ppherber on April 17, 2014 at 10:28 pm

My first exposure to porn in 1965. Slipped by the box office spiv, walked down a LONG lobby, and checked out a soft-core flick staring Preston Sturges Jr.(his father must have been repulsed). Pretty exciting stuff for a Cleveland teenager.

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