Royal Theater

635 Johnston Street,
Akron, OH 44311

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Additional Info

Styles: Streamline Moderne

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One of two Royal Theater’s in Akron, the Johnston Street venue opened on August 7, 1920 with Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. in “His Majesty, The American” and Fatty Arbuckle in “The Sheriff". It was one of many new theaters that launched during a post-War boom in Akron. In fact, a second Royal Theatre, the Charles H. Miles' burlesque house, Miles' Royal Theatre opened just a month later on September 6, 1920 running for 17 years.

The Johnston Street Royal Theater had a 2 manual Wurlitzer pipe organ at its launch and was run by Manager Budweiser. Andrew Turner took on the venue and equipped it for sound to remain viable. New operator John J. Dietjen took on the venue and gave it a Streamline Moderne style makeover and equipping it with new Super Simplex projectors. He also gave it an advantage over many downtown theaters with its own parking lot for 300 cars. Dietjen was a strong proponent of independent movie houses but would pass away, however, in 1939.

The Royal Theater thrived in the War years but ran into trouble along the way when television challenged neighborhood theaters such as these. It closed permanently on June 7, 1953 with John Wayne in “Trouble Along the Way". It reopened under the new management of Andrew Martin on January 7, 1954 and closed on November 30, 1959 with Burt Lancaster in “The Devils Disciple’s” & John Agar in “Invisible Invaders”. The building became a teen activity center and then was retrofitted for a beauty salon. The former theater was razed in 2000, just 80 years after its opening.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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