Vine Theatre

38025 Vine Street,
Willoughby, OH 44094

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Modern Theaters

Architects: Rudolph Grosel, Paul Matzinger

Firms: Matzinger & Grosel

Functions: Church

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Nearby Theaters

Vine Theatre

The Vine Theatre was an unremarkable, regular small town/neighborhood theatre, somewhat larger than most, with 1,500-seats on one level. Murals on the interior were the work of Hans Teichert. For many years, beginning in the early-1950’s, it functioned as something of a second run house – paired with the Berea Theatre, Berea, Ohio. Both theatres were owned by Modern Theatres, Cleveland, Ohio, and they ran the same schedule of feature movies, week in and week out.

When first runs were completed at the downtown theatres in Cleveland, the Vine Theatre and Berea Theatre would pick those movies up on an exclusive, “next in line” basis. This worked well, since the theatres were far apart geographically, (the Vine Theatre in Willoughby, east of Cleveland; the Berea Theatre in Berea, Ohio, west of Cleveland).

In the 1950’s, the Vine Theatre was managed by John Newkirk. The Vine Theatre closed permanently around 1965, according to several local residents of Willoughby. The final movie was Ken Scott in “Raiders from Beneath the Sea”. Today, the building is occupied by a Jehovah’s Witnesses Hall.

An interesting sidelight: The Vine Theatre was a virtual twin to the Ezella Theatre, 7011 Superior Avenue, Cleveland, Ohio, which was also operated by Modern Theaters.

Contributed by Roger Stewart

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

blausche on December 23, 2005 at 3:00 pm

The vine closed in the early 70’s. I use to go to it then

kencmcintyre on February 26, 2007 at 7:03 pm

Trouble in 1967:

‘Ulysses,'The Movie, Is Banned

WILLOUGHBY, Ohio (UPI)-It was Paris, 1922, when James Joyce first unleashed the “Ulysses" controversy and now it’s cropped up here. Police impounded the film version of the controversial novel Friday night, closed the Vine Theater and charged the manager and projectionist with showing a lewd and obscene film.

The film, with a liberal dose of four letter words, was playing at three other Cleveland area theaters, but there were no complaints. “If a guy said some of those things on a street corner and anyone heard him, he’d be arrested,” said Willoughby Law Director Lewis Turl Jr.

Norm Lindway
Norm Lindway on July 7, 2008 at 6:51 am

Two other theaters in far out suburbs also showed the same features just after their downtown runs. They were the Stillwell in Bedford and the Willow in Independence. That way all four corners of the Cleveland metro area had theaters showing films just after downtown but a few weeks before they hit the next single feature runs in neighborhood “A” theaters like the Colony, Vogue, Shaker, Fairview, Fairmont, Richmond, Lake, Mayland and Yorktown. Then the “B” neighborhood theaters got the films and played double bills.

CSWalczak on April 7, 2009 at 11:46 pm

A picture of the Vine Theater from 1955:
View link

kencmcintyre on August 12, 2009 at 11:23 pm

Here is a May 1963 ad from the Willoughby News-Herald:

buckguy on December 8, 2009 at 8:30 pm

The Vine occupied an odd niche. It did not routinely get first run films, but it often got blockbusters after they had run in downtown Cleveland such as Dr Zhivago, The Great Escape, etc. They did not get films before the Lake, etc., nor did they routinely do double features. The Shore was the one theatre in this general area that did double bills and except for cheap horror films, they abandoned that by the late 60s.

It was a very plain theatre. It closed and was converted to a Kingdom Hall in the late 70s.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 16, 2010 at 11:25 pm

Like its sister theater in Berea, the Vine was designed by the Cleveland architectural firm of Matzinger & Grosel. Boxoffice of November 17, 1945, announced that construction had begun on the project.

Three small photos accompanied this article about the Vine Theatre in Boxoffice of December 7, 1946.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on November 23, 2010 at 6:45 pm

It had 1600 seats according to the 1950 Newspaper ad for “ADAM’S RIB”.

kathya on June 11, 2011 at 6:41 pm

this so interesting. There is a wall that is being renovated and on it is painting of a carausel and a tiger and a deer and an old bugs bunny at the top it has Basil Turi’s I was just so interested in the history because of this painting. It looks like a place the kids used

rlausche on August 3, 2011 at 8:35 pm

The Granada Also played 2 runs with the Vine. In the 50’s when the movies left downtown they went to the Lake in Euclid before going anywhere else. The Lake was like going downtown after it opened. The Vine did show first runs for a shorttime. It went back to subruns after Great Lake mall cinema open.

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