National Theatre

120 S. Main Street,
Akron, OH 44308

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Additional Info

Previous Names: National Picture Theatre

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Dayton Doyle built the New Doyle Block theatreless in 1896, replacing a previous Doyle Block. The National Picture Theatre was one of four businesses that moved in shortly after the building’s tenth anniversary. The National Picture Theatre was one of the first movie houses in downtown Akron launching in 1907. The National Picture Theatre’s motto was, “The most refined pictures at all times". Andrew Schiappacasse ran the venue and teamed with the Akron Beacon-Journal to bring live election results from the 1908 Presidential campaign where Ohioan William Taft prevailed.

Gabriel and Carmella Gullia ran the theatre from 1922 to 1926. Refinement took a nosedive as far better movie theatres were built within a block including the Orpheum Theatre and then the Palace Theatre. New operators did have success with westerns and a personal appearance by Art Mix in 1927 was well attended. Frank Buben took on the venue which was bombed along with his personal home for failure to use union employees as the National Picture Theatre was clearly trying to cut costs to survive. The Ideal Theatre, the Allen Theatre, the Gem Theatre, the Dayton Theatre and the Liberty Theatre were also bombed. But the National Picture Theatre was able to continue.

In 1930, the National Theatre purportedly converted to talkies but showed few sound films. The National Theatre went out of business - likely at the end of a 25-year leasing agreement - on April 12, 1932 with Paddy O'Flynn in “Damaged Souls" (aka “Unguarded Girls”), an exploitation film for women audiences only. In 1934, the space was retrofitted for an auto showroom and later a retail clothing and shoe store. In August of 1966, the Doyle Block was purchased for urban renewal purposes for $290,000 from the Doyle family. It was demolished in a “cloud of red brick dust”, according to reports, in March of 1967 for a parking structure.

Contributed by dallasmovietheaters
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