Guild Theatre

782 E. McMillan Street,
Cincinnati, OH 45206

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Additional Info

Firms: F & Y Building Service

Functions: Retail

Previous Names: Eden Theatre, Midtown Cinema

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Guild Theatre

One of a few theatres in the formerly vibrant Peebles Corner business district in the Walnut Hills neighborhood of Cincinnati. Opened as the Eden Theatre in 1939.

Later known as the Guild Theatre, it was remodelled around 1948 by architectural firm F & Y Building Service. It was long known as an art theatre, and is most famous for being the venue where Russ Meyer’s “Vixen” had opened before being shut down by the city vice squad, leading to a long and very expensive lawsuit filed by Meyer against the city.

When last spotted, the building was still standing and serving as a TV repair shop. An intriguing, abstract painting (I suppose meant to suppose artistic film expression) still adorns its visible side wall, albeit in extremely degraded condition.

Contributed by Marc Edward Heuck

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

kencmcintyre on July 10, 2009 at 6:42 pm

Is this the theater? It would be around the 700 block of E. McMillan street.

kencmcintyre on July 10, 2009 at 6:56 pm

This is from the Lima (OH) News on September 30, 1969:

CINCINNATI (AP)-Obscenity charges against a movie operator for showing the film “Vixen” were returned to Hamilton county common pleas court today from U. S. District court. Judge Davis S. Porter said there were no federal or civil rights questions in the case and refused to hear it. But he ordered the film returned to the defendant, Malibu, Inc. operators of the Guild Theater in Cincinnati. The charges were brought by Charles Keating, founder of the Citizens for Decent Literature.

kencmcintyre on July 14, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Sound Electronics is at 782 E. McMillan:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 30, 2009 at 9:57 pm

The earliest mentions of the Guild Theatre in Boxoffice are in 1949, when it was already running foreign films. The most recent mention of the Eden Theatre I’ve found is from March 30, 1946.

The November 16, 1935, issue of Boxoffice reported that Willis Vance would open a new theater at Peebles Corner to be called the Eden. It was to have about 300 seats.

hanksykes on April 9, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Eden Theater address was 782 East McMillian Avenue as of the 1944 Cincinnati,Ohio City Directory.Charles F.Clarke was its manager.

hanksykes on April 11, 2012 at 8:49 pm

Eden Theater was build in 1939.

rivest266 on May 31, 2015 at 11:15 am

November 4th, 1948 grand opening ad in photo section

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 23, 2016 at 5:25 pm

This item about a movie theater at the Guild’s address appeared in the March 1, 1913, issue of Motography:

“The Cincy theater, a moving picture theater on McMillan street, near Peebles corner, Cincinnati, was transferred from John Hagerty to George W. Vaughn on a lease which is written for one year. The theater is at 782 East McMillan street. The lease is at $100 a month.”
While it’s possible that the Cincy Theatre was in an earlier building on the same site, the side walls of the Guild’s building do look sufficiently worn to have been there since the 1910s or earlier (it was listed at this address in the 1910 city directory.)

Also, I doubt that a brand new neighborhood house built in 1939 would have been as narrow as the Eden, which is another indication that it was most likely an older theater remodeled and reopened at that time. However, I’ve been unable to find any references to the house between 1913 and 1939. It might have operated under other names.

meheuck on March 2, 2023 at 9:58 pm

It’s safe to say that the Guild’s lean to adult fare began in 1969, where they transitioned from R-rated art films and moveovers to straight up softcore. In the hierarchy of the active adult theatres in Cincinnati of the time, they would share higher-profile titles with Cinema X on Race St., while the Royal would effectively be second-run double features and the Imperial stressed their striptease performers more than the movies they played. Besides VIXEN, the Guild also opened PUTNEY SWOPE, Morrissey’s TRASH, and Art Napoleon’s THE ACTIVIST (ghost released by Universal under the “Regional Films” alias).

1972 saw some cracks in the fascade, interspersing a Charlie Chaplin compilation and the Black drama THE BUS IS COMING with the skin flicks. It looks like they went dark for a few months, and reopened in December of that year under a new owner, “Mark I Theatres,” and a new name, Midtown Cinema, and became a second-run double feature house. They even instituted super late night 2am shows on the weekend. More importantly, much like Black-attended theatres as the Regal and the State, they stopped listing showtimes in the Cincinnati papers and only occasionally put their name in display ads if joining a city-wide saturation run. They apparently dabbled back in adult films again, attempting to play DEEP THROAT in 1974 after it had already been shut down at the Alpha Fine Arts in Northside; they too had their run raided and ended early.

Some time before 1976, they entered a joint-operation agreement with the Alpha, and rebranded again as Eden Theatre. Looks like they still weren’t putting times in the papers, but reportedly they concentrated on exploitation fare like martial arts movies, and were only open on weekends.

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