Norka Theater

1097 E. Market Street,
Akron, OH 44305

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The Norka (Akron spelled backwards) was a small theater on E. Market Street across from the Goodyear plant in Akron, Ohio. It opened on April 11, 1910.

When I attended as a child in 1941-2 you could count on a double feature, a newsreel and "selected shorts" consisting of a cartoon, live comedy –and on Saturday a serial. It was closed in the summer of 1952. It reopened on December 15, 1954 with Audie Murphy in “Drums Across the River” & Clark Gable in “Betrayed”. It was closed on May 30, 1956 with Stewart Granger in “Footsteps in the Fog” & Randolph Scott in “Lawless Street”. It was converted into a church for a brief time but was demolished in 1961.

When I returned to that Akron in the late-1990’s the entire area had been demolished and replaced by a parking lot.

Contributed by JOE SEDELMAIER

Recent comments (view all 7 comments)

richhd5 on December 5, 2006 at 4:45 am

This little theater reopened briefly in the 1960’s after many years of closure. I passsed it each day on the way to the U of Akron so the time frame was mid 1960s.

bebe on May 4, 2012 at 5:19 pm

I was 10 years old in 1940 and I remember what a treat it was to attend the Norka every Saturday afternoon. My mother would drop me off and pick me up because the audience was almost all loud noisy kids. For a dime, you could buy a sack of penny candy and a sack of popcorn. What fun! I loved “Flash Gordon” serials the most! My dad worked at the Good Year Plant across the street for 15 years. The Rialto Theater was just up the street and my mother and I attended many double features and then my dad would meet us to walk together after his shift. At one time, the theater turned on the lights and allowed the audience to play “WhaHoo” like Bingo. I won a radio two different times. The Good Old Days! I also saw the Ink Spots at the Rialto.

adamghost on March 1, 2016 at 9:11 pm

Reported as just opened in the February 1, 1910 issue of The Nickelodeon.

rivest266 on November 5, 2016 at 10:43 am

This opened on January 15th, 1910

Grand opening ad in the photo section.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 2, 2022 at 11:23 pm

The Norka Theatre got a CinemaScope upgrade, as noted in this item from Motion Picture Herald of January 7, 1956: “Clifford Shearon has reopened his Norka theatre in Akron, Ohio, following a remodeling program, which included a new wide-screen and new projectors.”

dallasmovietheaters on January 21, 2023 at 1:29 pm

The Norka Theatre opened April 11, 1910 with vaudeville acts including Electro, The Human Rheostat. Motion pictures were also played at the theater in its earliest days. The theater was known for its “blood red” sidewalk - called “lurid” by a local writer - in front of the venue and also the well-placed Norka Confectionery that served as its de facto concession stand. The venue converted to sound to remain viable.

Robert W. Postma, whose family had run the Rialto for generations and had built the East Drive-In in 1951, closed the Norka Theatre in the Summer of 1952 and operated the East Drive-In. Jack Flemm, who had closed the Tivoli in the Summer of 1953, took on the vacant theater on December 15, 1954 with “Drums Across the River” and “Betrayed.” Clifford Shearon took on the venue as its final operator and equipped it for widescreen presentations thinking that would be the ticket. But he closed the Norka on May 30, 1956 “Footsteps in the Fog” and “Lawless Street.”

The venue had a short run as a house of worship although, apparently, make no interior or exterior modifications. The theatre had a final operation - a salvage sale - in April of 1961. It was torn down shortly thereafter in 1961.

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