Bexley Theater

2484 East Main Street,
Bexley, OH 43209

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Matthew Prigge
Matthew Prigge on November 18, 2012 at 9:58 am

If anyone has any stories about going to/ working at this threatre in its adult days, I would love to hear them. I am chronicling the histories of adult theatres in the US. Please contact me at Thanks!

Billinuk
Billinuk on October 14, 2012 at 11:38 am

I grew up in EastMoor and moved away in 1967. Prior to that I went to the Bexley fairly often ( as often as a movie obsessed 11 year old can be). The first time I went there was with my parents to see The Mouse That Roared. I remember being disappointed because the ( spoiler alert) the mouse didn’t appear until the very end. Other films I saw there were Jacques Cousteau’s World Without Sun, The Czech film The Shameless Old Lady, The World of Harold Lloyd ( which had its “world premiere” there), The Umbrellas of Cherbourg and on a Sunday night: Jules and Jim. On Sunday and Monday evenings they had the Janus Film series which were basically an ongoing selection of what are now mostly Criterion Collection DVDs . I loved the Bexley, I thought it was in the best sense of the word an “Adult” theatre and when I moved away I was sad at its decline.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on June 22, 2012 at 8:40 am

The Bexley was also featured on the front page of the magazine’s Modern Theatre section: boxofficemagazine

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on June 22, 2012 at 8:37 am

Here’s a 1935 trade article about the new Bexley Theatre: boxofficemagazine

DennisBee
DennisBee on March 12, 2012 at 7:34 pm

I would think the Chaplin festival was in the mid-‘70s. After Chaplin’s special Oscar in 1972, there was a great deal of interest, and Chaplin, who of course retained control of his movies, released his films as a series. I recall seeing a few of them at the World, the Bexley’s sister theater on the OSU campus, circa 1975.

I grew up just outside Bexley in the Berwick area, and the theater was nearing the height of its notoriety as I was entering my high school years in 1969. However, it tried a period of mainstream second-run in 1970, not long after Jerry Knight’s Drexel, up the road, went from second-run to a first-run house for prestige pictures. In 1970 and 1971 I saw sub-runs of BUTCH CASSIDY AND THE SUNDANCE KID and LITTLE BIG MAN, respectively, at the Bexley.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 26, 2011 at 6:34 pm

Do you happen to remember when you showed the Charlie Chaplin festival? That was my first exposure to Modern Times, Monsieur Verdoux, A King In New York, and The Great Dictator.

MovieMgr
MovieMgr on June 26, 2011 at 5:53 pm

Hi Mark, No, when I took over we had two projection booths and one projectionist. I’m not sure when the mirror configuration ended but it was due to sulfur in the well water used for evaporative cooling, it disorted the mirrors and thus the image projected. Of couse I knew Lou Sher and Bob Little well. I wonder if you knew any of the capital students who worked for me. I’m at

Mark_L
Mark_L on June 26, 2011 at 5:33 pm

MovieMgr, I was a student at Capital University during your management years at the Bexley. You had some good movies running there then!

Was there any remnant of the mirror system there while you were there?

MovieMgr
MovieMgr on June 26, 2011 at 6:33 am

Updated and edited on June 26, 2011 I worked for a small chain of Art Theatres from 1963-1973. The company was Art Theatre Guild, Inc. Founded by Louis K.Sher in Bexley, Ohio in 1955. The company moved its HQ to Scottsdale, Arizona in 1963. I was promoted to manager in 1964 and sent to Tucson to operate the original Loft Theatre located at 6th & Fremont, which I also lived in. I also managed the Fine Art in Fresno, The Rockhill in Kansas City, Missouri. The Cinema in Hollywood, the Art Theatre in Dayton along with the Little Art in Yellow Springs, Ohio and The Bexley (then first twin theatre in America) in Bexley, Ohio along with the World Theatre in Columbus and the Opera House in Granville, Ohio. I was the manager of the Bexley and World theatres from 1969 – 1973.

Mark_L
Mark_L on August 17, 2010 at 9:20 pm

The dual projection system was still in use in 1955, when Louis & Maury Sher took over the ownership, with Robert Little as manager. Original screen size was 9' x 12', but the screens were expanded to 15' by 20'. At that time, it was not equipped for wide screen/Cinemascope. Popcorn and candy was not sold, but free coffee and soft drinks were available in the lobby. Children under 18 were not admitted, even though adult films were not shown at that time.

Mark_L
Mark_L on October 16, 2009 at 12:31 pm

For a time in the very late ‘50s, this theatre was known as the Bexley Continental/American. Foreign films were shown in one screen and American films on the other. I found this while looking for some other things in the Columbus Dispatch microfilm records.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 5, 2009 at 4:44 pm

This is a February 1991 article from the Marysville Journal-Tribune:

BEXLEY, Ohio (AP) â€" Franklin County Sheriff Earl Smith says the Bexley Art Theatre is a public nuisance and wants it closed. Smith said undercover detectives saw lewd acts committed during four trips to the theater, which shows X-rated movies, this month.

Judge Dale Crawford of Franklin County Common Pleas Court issued a temporary restraining order that allowed Smith to photograph and inventory contents of the theater during a raid Wednesday. A complaint against the theater by detectives also names Arts Theatre Guild in Scottsdale, Ariz., the parent company, and Prentice Hall Corporate Services, the local theater agent.

ChasSmith
ChasSmith on March 3, 2009 at 8:19 pm

We lived in neighboring Whitehall during the 1950s, then briefly in Bexley, so we were constantly driving past the Bexley Theater on Main Street. As moviegoers we primarily went to drive-ins in those days. The one time I was taken to the Bexley as a child was for my first “Fantasia”. According to release dates found on IMDB, that would have been the 1956 re-release.

I remember very little of that, except for a few impressions of the film and a vague mental image of the theater interior rather austere. However, it came as a complete surprise to read here that it was always a twin. All these years, I hadn’t known or remembered that.

As a side note, I’ve tried to figure out where we kids were taken to see Disney’s “Sleeping Beauty” on its first run in 1959. Can anyone say if that one played the Bexley?

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 22, 2009 at 8:16 pm

The Bexley Theatre was the subject of an article in the November 16, 1935, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The article includes most of the information in the introduction above and on the web site Ron Newman linked to, but differs from the web site in saying that the screens at the Bexley were 9' by 12' rather than 8' by 10'.

The article also says that the plan and design of the theater were done by Ted Lindenberg and Bert Williams, the latter being president of the Ardmore Amusement Company, the Columbus, Ohio, corporation which originally owned and operated the house.

Photographs of the lobby and one auditorium show a fairly austere modern style, with little decoration in the lobby, and plain walls and in the auditorium. Seating in the narrow auditorium was continental style, with the aisles confined to the sides. The text refers to the interiors of the theater as being “painted with light.”

The moderne facade was also lit, by a pair of powerful spotlights at the corners of the lot, and there was a carbon arc lamp placed in front of the theater, shining straight up, the beam of which could be seen from several miles away.

ZookieFreddie
ZookieFreddie on February 22, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Some things I can add to the comments:
1. The theater was definitely a wider building than the McDonalds that replaced it.
2. Bexley is an arrogant city within Columbus and their codes prevented the McDonalds from looking like a typical one. It was a square box format with NO arches whatsoever.
3. Also their codes prevented any normal signage, just a simple small one out front.
4. Bexley residents are “too good” to eat at McDonalds and thus the reason for their demise here.

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on November 7, 2008 at 7:32 pm

McDonald’s Corp. owns Chipotle. So they must have been stuck with the lease or possibly land.
Oddly symbolic of the conversion from American to Foreign films.
Don’t want to touch the deeper symbolism behind the conversion to porn.

movingpictureop
movingpictureop on February 6, 2007 at 10:31 pm

atg you no me maybe put the eprad eqipment in at bex hi hi JHM

kmmcdonald
kmmcdonald on October 14, 2006 at 5:23 am

I remember seeing Arch Oboler’s “The Bubble” at the Bexley in the early ‘70’s, presented in the original “Space Vision” which required 3-D glasses with polarized lenses. An amazingly low-budget film, but the 3D was amazing. Not anything like the 3-D that uses the dual-color glasses.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 23, 2006 at 6:37 am

Good to hear from you. Can you give us some insight as to why the theatre’s booking policy later changed from art films to porn?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 19, 2004 at 6:57 pm

When I submitted this theater, I specified this web page, but somehow the link didn’t get posted. Much of the information I posted came from this page.

Here’s a photo of the theater. It is not dated, but the blank marquee suggests that it has closed and is awaiting demolition, some time in the mid-1990s.