Mount Adams Cinema

1136 Belvedere Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45202

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Mount Adams Cinema

Viewing: Photo | Street View

This theatre is likely best known as a scrappy independent operation high up in the hills outside downtown Cincinnati. In the 1970’s and 1980’s, it often subsisted entirely on screenings of “Harold and Maude” and “King of Hearts”, which before the days of tape and DVD, people would come to watch again and again. Before they closed, they expanded the playlist to other cult movies prone to repeat viewing. One time a friend called for showtimes, and the person on the other end asked what time could he get there. Sure enough, the show was held for his party because they wound up being the only people to come.

It’s been hard to learn anything about the place post-mortem. Mt. Adams is a popular upscale neighborhood known for pubs and sightseeing: there is a church parking lot that has a magnificent view of downtown Cincinnati. Pity such an affluent neighborhood couldn’t sustain a local theatre.

Anyone with pictures, please post them. This is the one theatre of my childhood I never got to visit and it’s always killed me to have no memories of its appearance.

Contributed by Marc Edward Heuck

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

hanksykes
hanksykes on December 6, 2006 at 9:51 pm

The Belvedere Theater was built sometime between 1911 and 1913. It seated 205 people in a silent era ,in the sound era a hole was cut into the rear of the structure to mount exterior speakers inside a weather proof box to provide audio to its patrons.The building has also been a Beer Hall and a Church.The Mt. Adams Cinema adopted its name in July of 1973.They showed both 16mm and 35mm in their venue so lots of art films and small independant flicks got a screening here. The Mt. Adams closed in 1979.The last theater operators of note were Parallax a firm based in San Fransisco,Ca.

blgwc
blgwc on February 20, 2009 at 7:00 pm

I managed the Cinema when Parallax (actually based in Los Angeles) ran it from July 1978 to April 1979. Ray Williams, who owned the building, opened it up. I worked for Ray off and on, too, and for Michael Bazarri, who attempted to run it for a while in ‘77 before it closed, and then Parallax (now Landmark) attempted to run it. (They also had the Alpha for a while, from July '78 to December '78 but gave up on it. Northside then didn’t really support it as a repertory house.) After Parallax closed it another person gave it a run but closed it, too. It wasn’t the neighborhood (not entirely affluent back then)..it was parking parking parking – the great lack thereof that kept it from being successful. There were no lots or parking garages to speak of as far as I remember. That print of Harold and Maude slowly turned to dust as screened every night at 7:00 for a couple of years or so…and to call it splicy is an understatement. Mt. Adams also was the first home in Cincy for regular midnight screenings of Rocky Horror. And showing Eraserhead was a very happy time in my life!

blgwc
blgwc on February 20, 2009 at 10:41 pm

That place did have its charm…it was just off the corner of Belvedere and Hatch. Next to it on the corner was/is a corner store, and the guy who ran it at the time lived above it. He had a German shepherd whose bark you could hear on occasion inside the cinema. I miss the sandwiches at Pia’s…

Bill Eichelberger
Bill Eichelberger on August 13, 2009 at 10:47 pm

http://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyum/3818093283/
http://www.flickr.com/photos/wallyum/3818097581/

Sorry about the brevity, but there was no parking available and I was due to pick my daughter up from skating practice.

hanksykes
hanksykes on July 20, 2010 at 11:21 pm

According to a recent Enquirer news article the Mt. Adams (nee Belvedere Th.) has become a ritzy condo with full occupancy. Nice that they saved the structure even with the loss of the cinema. The building had also been used to store scenery for Ch.#5 NBC Television during some of its down years.

triciawilliams
triciawilliams on November 6, 2012 at 1:13 am

My father, Ray Williams, reopened this eclectic theatre in the 1970’s. Our large family has many happy memories of watching Harold and Maude, The Red Balloon, The Harder They Come, Amacord, etc. in this labor of love theatre my father created. It was the first Cincinnati theatre to show Rocky Horror. The best projectionist in town worked there, his name was Tuck. If anyone has any great stories of Ray Williams please share them.

meheuck
meheuck on November 6, 2012 at 6:00 am

Tricia: thank you for sharing your memories of your dad and his time with the Mt. Adams. It saddens me that I never got to see the place when I lived in Cincinnati.

I’m wondering if you can help me with a little ROCKY HORROR history though. You’re claiming that ROCKY showed first at the Adams – do your remember the dates? My earliest memories of the movie playing in Cincy was seeing newspaper ads for it at a short-lived mini-plex in Corryville near UC – each room had its own name, so it was called “The Bijou, the Roxy, and the Ritz” – and then after that, its long residency at the Skywalk downtown, where I ultimately saw it. I’d love to establish a timeline for the movie.

Apiker
Apiker on February 17, 2013 at 9:23 pm

I live in one of the two condos that used to be the Belvedere Theater. I would love to find some old photos from its days as a theater, church or saloon. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Andy_Niedenthal
Andy_Niedenthal on April 18, 2013 at 9:58 pm

Can’t add any new info, my family used to own The Belvedere Theater – remember it only as storage for WLW-TV set storage, I helped take out the old projectors in the late 50’s and donated them to my high school Andy

John Whitley
John Whitley on November 16, 2013 at 4:44 pm

Am I out of my mind or was this theater the midnight showing home of Monty Python & the Holy Grail???

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