Cedar Lee Theatre in Cleveland Heights turns 85 on Dec.1

posted by CSWalczak on November 23, 2010 at 3:45 pm

CLEVELAND HEIGHTS, OH — On December 1, the Cedar Lee Theatre will celebrate its eighty-fifth birthday by showing the famous Charlie Chaplin film “The Gold Rush” which played at the theater when it opened in 1925. Although now operating as a six-plex, the lobby retains many of the original features. It is one of the last operating neighborhood theaters in the greater Cleveland area, and now presents primarily art and foreign films.

There is more at NewsNet5.

Theaters in this post

Comments (6)

ChasSmith on November 24, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Happy birthday to the Cedar Lee. I went to school in University Circle, and lived there and in Cleveland Heights in the late 60s, early 70s, and I have fond memories of some of my first “serious” moviegoing there. Unless there was another neighborhood theater close by, the (single-screen) Cedar Lee is probably where I saw the first runs of “The Graduate”, “The Last Picture Show”, “Midnight Cowboy”, and much more. Boy, those were the days. Congratulations on a long run, and here’s to many more successful years.

CSWalczak on November 24, 2010 at 8:24 pm

Based on some of the titles you have mentioned, it would not surprise me if you perhaps saw some of them at the nearby Heights Art Theatre (which ended its movie theater days as the Madstone Centrum on Coventry). As a former Clevelander, I can recall that in the period of the late 1960’s-early 1970’s, the Cedar Lee was principally a typical neighborhood house showing mostly mainstream fare, whereas the Heights (which often ran in tandem Westwood on Cleveland’s west side) ran more mature, avant garde and foreign films. There were also, along Coventry, a few taverns that were popular among students from Case and Western Reserve.

ChasSmith on November 25, 2010 at 12:03 am

I appreciate your input, and I’ll trust your knowledge of how the two theaters operated — especially since my own memories in this particular instance are so vague. I just looked at pictures linked from the listing here on the Centrum, and it looks like it must have been a really nice theater back in the day.

CSWalczak on November 29, 2010 at 2:23 am

Another article about the theater’s anniversary with a picture from 1940: View link

terrywade on November 30, 2010 at 6:00 pm

Before they chopped up the place did the Cedar Lee have a large curved screen? I think they had roadshow in the 50’s & 60’s for a time with 70mm.

CSWalczak on December 1, 2010 at 4:37 am

Terry, I am sure that you are really thinking of the theater that opened in 1968 as the Fox Cedar Center on Cedar at Warrensville Center Road, not far from the old May’s on the Heights. This was indeed a 70mm roadshow house when it opened; I remember seeing that preposterous “Paint Your Wagon” there and few other roadshows; it was also the theater in the Cleveland area that ran the reissue of “This Is Cinerama” when was re-released in 70mm in the early 1970’s. It did have a curved screen, It later was taken over by Loew’s and was twinned at which time the curved screen was removed. The Cedar Lee in the 1950’s and 60’s was never a roadshow house and never had a curved screen. It was a typical neighborhood theater in that period running mostly films on second run.

You must login before making a comment.

New Comment