Parma Theatre

5826 Ridge Road,
Parma, OH 44130

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Modern Theaters

Architects: Paul Matzinger

Firms: Matzinger & Grosel

Styles: Art Deco

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News About This Theater

Parma Theatre

Opened on October 17, 1936 with Joan Crawford in “The Gorgeous Hussy”. This local theatre in the Cleveland suburb of Parma, Ohio was showing second run movies in 2002. By 2009, it was screening first run movies.

The Parma Theatre was closed in September 2012, and the front of the building was damaged by fire in an arson attack on November 16, 2012. The entire building was demolished in December 2014.

Contributed by Laura Parsons

Recent comments (view all 28 comments)

dave-bronx™ on December 9, 2014 at 3:28 pm

According to local radio news reports, the Parma Theatre was flattened today. They also state that the group that was trying to save it was given no notice that it was coming down today.

dave-bronx™ on December 11, 2014 at 11:29 am

An article on the demolition in today’s Parma Sun News:

By Maura Zurick, Northeast Ohio Media Group Email the author | Follow on Twitter on December 08, 2014 at 3:09 PM, updated December 08, 2014 at 7:02 PM

PARMA, Ohio — After the dust cleared Monday, piles of brick, glass and metal littered the Ridge Road spot where the Parma Theater stood for 78 years.

The demolition came with no warning, said Mayor Tim DeGeeter, who learned of the wrecking ball from Councilwoman Deborah Lime, who worked with the Friends of the Parma Theater to try to save it.

“This morning’s demolition came as a surprise to us,” DeGeeter said in a statement. “As this is private property, the city has no standing in this. Our concern is making sure that our residents are safe, that the demolition is done properly and in compliance with city laws.”

The theater closed in 2012, and shortly after, a fire started in the lobby causing $750,000 of damage. The blaze was ruled arson by the Ohio Division of State Fire Marshal and the Ohio Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and the case is still open.

The Friends of Parma Theater tried to save the movie theater from the wrecking ball for nearly two years. Lime said she found out about the demolition from Facebook and phone calls.

“There truly will be a huge void and a loss to the area with the theater gone,” she said and thanked the volunteers who tried to save it.

The efforts to save the theater spanned from impractical, including a resident’s plan to buy the theater for $1 and convert it into a cat sanctuary, to fundraising to turn it into a community arts center.

Owner Norman Barr had to fix 20 building code violations or tear the theater down before Dec. 11 court date.

Demolition crews started around 8 a.m. By mid-afternoon the front of the theater was a pile of debris.

“As a resident of Polish Village and Parma I am deeply saddened and dismayed that the owners have chosen to demolish the building,” said Kathy Mabin, a member of the Friends of Parma Theater.

Mabin said Barr gave the Friends an inflated price and unreasonable time limit, only after the theater was the subject of news coverage.

“So now the community will suffer, gone is the history, gone is the hope to reclaim the building and make the space useful, and what is left behind is a gaping hole left by their destruction,” she said.

Parma resident Wayne Mesker, one of the original members of Friends of Parma Theater, came to watch the theater where he saw “Transformers” and “Spider Man” come down.

“It’s a sad day here in Parma,” Mesker said. “It didn’t have to be this way.”

dave-bronx™ on December 18, 2014 at 11:32 am

Parma Theatre
10/17/1936 – 12/09/2014

dave-bronx™ on March 25, 2016 at 6:19 pm

The city has done whatever it has to do to allow a CVS Drug Store to be built on the site of the Parma Theatre.

The Parma residents are ecstatic – after all, no CVS here would mean people would have to continue traveling a half mile north to Walgreens or RiteAid, or 1.5 mi. to the south to visit Walmart, Target or Marc’s – oh! the drudgery!

fred1 on August 3, 2016 at 5:59 am

Just past by the theater and it is nothing but an empty field.

TomMc11 on May 23, 2017 at 11:42 am

The CVS is currently under construction, steel framework is already in place.

pnelson on May 24, 2017 at 7:27 pm

Nice art deco exterior and marquee. Any interior pics?

rivest266 on November 29, 2021 at 10:04 am

The Parma theatre opened on October 17th, 1936, with “The Gorgeous Hussy”. Grand opening ad posted.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 30, 2021 at 3:27 pm

The Cleveland Landmarks Commission attributes the design of the Parma Theatre to architect Paul Matzinger of Matzinger & Grosel.

James_Douglas on December 26, 2022 at 10:32 am

Too bad about this one. I would have liked to see it when I visit Cleveland. I think this was built by my Great Uncle John Kalafat and his Associated Theaters. I know his sister, my grandmother lived across the street in the brick house that is still there.

James in San Francisco.

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