Allen Theatre

1407 Euclid Avenue,
Cleveland, OH 44115

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Showing 51 - 71 of 71 comments

vic1964 on April 13, 2007 at 2:36 am

I forgot to mention Londons Capitol had extreme width!

vic1964 on April 13, 2007 at 2:34 am

C.Howard Crane may have been a visionary regarding screen width because he designed the Capitol in London Ontario which opened in 1920 and was also called the Allen originally.

shoeshoe14 on April 13, 2007 at 1:06 am

I heard this was one of the first wide screen theaters built in the 1920s.

kencmcintyre on September 27, 2006 at 10:02 pm

Here is a 1932 photo from the Cleveland Public Library:

FrankDutton on April 12, 2006 at 10:03 am

The Allen circut only ran the Allen in Cleveland for about a year. It then becam a Loew’s Theatre. The stage was extended about 4-5 feet to accomodate the Vaude/Pix policy that Loew’s had found successful in its other venues.

dave-bronx™ on February 12, 2006 at 8:25 am

Warner Bros. had it for a short time…

Hibi on September 29, 2005 at 12:29 pm

I was in the Allen once, possible several times as a kid in the 60’s but I dont remember much about what it looked like, unfortunately. It was dark and we arrived whenever and sat through the next show until we saw what we missed. I did eat in the Rotunda restaurant once many years later. That was impressive.

Hibi on September 27, 2005 at 11:22 am

Its too bad they had to install a bar in the dome under the balcony. Beautiful.

dave-bronx™ on September 27, 2005 at 8:33 am

Here are some photos of the Allen from the early 1970s:
View link

FrankDutton on August 18, 2005 at 1:31 pm

The Allen actually was originally operated by a Canadian company run by Jules and Jay J. Allen.about a year after it opened it became a Loew’s theatre, later becomming a Warner Bros. theatre. It closed as a film house in 1968 and was occasionally used for rock shows over the next several years. It became the first theatre to be opened by the Playhouse Square Assoc in November 1971 opening with a performance by the Budapest Symphony Orch.Over the next several years it hosted a variety of shows by Lily Tomlin, Richard Harris, and numerous rock shows, like The Pink Floyd, The Jeff Beck Group, etc. In 1976 the owners of the building MilCapIncleased the theatre lobby to a restaurant operator who ran it for a couple years

dave-bronx™ on July 24, 2005 at 5:31 am

I don’t know about 1938, but in the 1960s there was a billiard hall downstairs. At the Hipp’s Prospect entrance, under the marquee but before you got to the theatres doors there was a stairway down to the billiard hall entrance. I suppose it could have been a bowling alley at one time.

buffsboy on July 23, 2005 at 8:27 pm

Does anyone know if there was a bowling alley under the Hippodrome theatre in Cleveland around 1938? I need to know exactly where it was located if possible and how did you enter the building, was the entry off the alley that ran alongside the building? Thanks.

PGlenat on January 19, 2005 at 11:26 pm

It’s interesting that the Allen brothers holdings extended to Cleveland. So far all I’ve been able to learn about them is that they began building their empire with their first major house in Calgary in 1913, followed by others all across Canada. Apparently they were overextended and forced into bankruptcy. Since they operated as an independent chain they could not compete with the much better funded Famous Players corporation. Most, if not all, their theaters in Canada were taken over by Famous Players. According to sources C. Howard Crane was the architect for all the Allen theaters. The c1920 Allen theater in Winnipeg still stands, renamed the Metropolitan in 1923 after Famous Players took over, but has been shuttered since 1988. I believe the city owns it now, with no plans for it’s future. It is still a single screen theater.

jsomich on January 19, 2005 at 7:12 pm

The ALLEN THEATRE, 1501 Euclid Ave., opened on 1 Apr. 1921. It joined the Ohio, State, and Hanna theaters, which had debuted only weeks before. The Allen was constructed in conjunction with the Bulkley Bldg., an 8-story office building on Euclid Ave., just east of E. 14th St. Designed by architect C. Howard Crane, the $1 million showplace was developed by 2 Canadian theater impresarios, Jules and Jay Allen of Toronto.

An ornate lobby led to a pillared Italian Renaissance rotunda, its dome 33' high. The balcony seating area was reached from another domed entrance hall, while yet a third dome graced the main arena. Altogether, the Allen could seat 3,003 in opulent surroundings. Because the Allen brothers were not affiliated with a major motion-picture circuit, they experienced difficulty in securing first-run features.

In 1932 RKO took over. In 1949 Warner Bros. joined in the theater’s management, and finally, in 1953 Stanley-Warner Theatres assumed the lease. Despite the expenditure of $500,000 in 1961 to renovate the Allen, diminishing audiences led to Stanley-Warner’s decision to close the theater on 5 Mar. 1968.

Although the Allen hosted some of the earliest events in the campaign to restore Cleveland’s PLAYHOUSE SQUARE, it was nearly lost amid the subsequent festivities surrounding the reopening of its 3 neighbors, the OHIO THEATER, STATE THEATER, and PALACE THEATER. For several years it housed a restaurant in its lobby, but demolition had already begun in Jan. 1993, when the Playhouse Square Assn. signed a long-term lease to preserve the Allen as part of its downtown theater complex.

jsomich on January 4, 2005 at 9:31 pm

When I visited the booth in the 60s, I found two Philips/Norelco 35/70mm projectors and a 35mm Century projector. The sound system was by Century.

Lamps were Ashcraft Super Cinex.

There was a B&W RCA Theatre projector also.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 1, 2004 at 12:17 pm

The architects of the Allen Theater were C. Howard Crane and Kenneth Franzheim

dave-bronx™ on September 14, 2004 at 10:09 pm

The Allen was built for movies only and did not have a working stage, only space for the horns between the screen and the back wall. The recent renovation included construction of a large stagehouse to accommodate touring stage productions. Upon completion of the restoration, The Cleveland Orchestra was performing here while it’s home, Severance Hall, was undergoing its own renovation.

An unusual element of this theatre was the transition from the lobby to the auditorium. The lobby had (has) a 1-story ceiling, and walking towards the auditorium you enter a 2 ½ story colonaded rotunda, which at the second floor is open to the mezzanine lobby. As you went through the columns on the opposite side of the rotunda you entered the auditorium at the head of the aisles under the balcony. In the low ceiling there, the underside of the balcony, there was an eliptical dome over the seating area. This dome was also open to the mezzanine lobby area upstairs. The recent renovation, sadly, saw this dome filled in and a bar installed upstairs.

garyjackson on April 24, 2004 at 4:43 pm

The Hippodrome closed in the 70’s and, unfortunately, was torn down. I believe it was Cleveland’s largest theatre. Five large theatres still remain in Playhouse Square. One of the last managers of the Hippodrome, Jack Silverthorne, died on April 16. His obituary is in the April 24 Plain Dealer. The Cleveland Public Library may be able to help you locate a photograph.

buffsboy on April 6, 2004 at 6:27 am

Does anyone have information on a movie theatre called the Hippadrome operated by Loews in downtown Cleveland in the 30’s? I need a photograph of the theatre if possible.

Toby on January 11, 2004 at 6:06 am

The Allen was originally operated by RKO Stanley Warner.