World Theater

2159 N. High Street,
Columbus, OH 43201

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Cinemad_zine on May 11, 2024 at 5:01 pm

Hello! I am working on a book and film about Louis Sher, the Art Theater Guild and all its theaters. Would love to get stories and photos from past employees and audience members. They owned the World in Columbus in the 60s and 70s. Much thanks! email: Mike_Plante at sundance dot org

hogwldfltr on June 18, 2016 at 2:16 am

I was day time projectionist and assistant manager during the mid 70s. At that time the World didn’t show porn. It was strictly and second run and midnight movie theater owned by the Art Theater Guild out of Phoenix.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 19, 2010 at 9:28 am

I added a page here for the Little Art Theatre.

The World and other OSU-area movie theatres are described on this page: University District History: 100 Years of University District Theatres

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 26, 2010 at 7:02 am

Thanks. Can you add it to CinemaTreasures? I remember that they used to advertise regularly in the Dispatch and Citizen-Journal along with their sister theatre, the ‘New Paris’ on Parsons Ave.

Mark_L on May 26, 2010 at 5:27 am

The Little Theatre did become the Little Art Theatre. The local police tried many times to shut that down. Many films were confiscated and managers arrested. Film censorship was a huge issue well up into the 1970’s. Building was finally condemned and torn down.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on May 25, 2010 at 11:00 pm

Did the ‘Little Theatre’ eventually become the X-rated ‘Little Art Theatre’ ? It is not yet listed here at CinemaTreasures.

Mark_L on May 25, 2010 at 10:05 pm

The WORLD theatre actually opened in 1947 in the building that housed the Olentangy at 2523 North High Street. On 9/14/1949, the WORLD moved to the Alhambra building, and the Olentangy became known as the Little Theatre, playing classic films.

In October, 1956, Charles Sugarman installed a 12' x 24' Cinemascope screen.

monika on July 24, 2009 at 2:16 am

I lived in the apartment complex right across High Street from what was the Alhambra/World/Roxy for 6 months. “The Nuthouse” didn’t strike me as once being a theatre, now that I see DAKCMH’s post and everyone else’s comments it makes perfect sense.

DAK8601 on July 21, 2009 at 8:05 pm

World Theater opened as a neighborhood theater called The Alhambra back in 1913. It was a movie theater continuously for the next 75 years.

In 1947, it changed its name to The World and began showing foreign films. The World fought the good fight for freedom of speech in a couple actions taken against it by the Columbus Film Review Board in the 1960s.

In the late 70s-early 80s, The World showed porn and the Q-FM Midnight movie on Fridays and Saturdays at midnight. In 1985, it became The Roxy, showing second run, cult, art, and indie films. It closed in 1988.

The building was a gym and then a succession of nightclubs. It’s currently (7/2009) empty and for lease.

I wrote an article about the theater that at:

meheuck on April 27, 2009 at 7:48 pm

Whoa – BW3 moved into the space?

So conflicted – I used to love Tuesday night 15 cent wings at BW3 in college, but the thought of them now occupying where I went to so many movies my freshman year…

I guess you really can’t go home again.

cjulyan on April 30, 2006 at 5:01 pm

I have just discovered an original poster signed by TOM CASEY which reads as follows: “ ‘Ma’ home ain’t here, babe'/Chicago Blues/Musicians and other/Drawings by/Tom Casey/April 3-30 [no year given]/Lobby of the World/theater, 2150 17` High/Street, Columbus, Ohio”. On the back in large cursive is my name. (I’m thinking of framing it as it is a handsome piece.) Memory of how it came to me is gone, but I can date it between 1954 & 1967, the years I lived in Columbus and taught at OSU. Possibly it was given me by one of my students. Possibly it was given me by one of my students. Possibly TC was at student at OSU. I have been unable to locate this Tom Casey on the Internet, so would appreciate getting information from onyone who can shed light on Casey or on the use of the World theatre lobby as an art gallery for who-know-who to exhibit their works or who can offer any other kind of related information.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on August 18, 2005 at 4:12 am

According to the Columbus Dispatch ( online archives, the World became the Roxy
on Friday, September 27, 1985. The Roxy closed on Thursday, June 2, 1988.

I’m sorry I never got to visit the Roxy during those years. Among the bookings mentioned in the Dispatch archives: a Rocky and Bullwinkle festival, a Bruce Lee festival, the restored version of Frank Capra’s Lost Horizon, the 3-D classic House of Wax, Blue Velvet, Brazil, Dona Herlinda and Her Son, and a series entitled ‘'A Closer Look: Contemporary Soviet Culture as Seen Through Film, Television and Art" (presented by OSU’s University Gallery).

Proton on April 23, 2005 at 11:40 am

At one time before it was known as the World Theater, it was known as the Alhambra Theater, apparantly a typical neighborhood theater of its day. My grandfather, who died in 1943, either owned or ran it but the only artifact of any kind that remaina in the family is a photo of my father at the projector.

jramats on January 19, 2005 at 5:59 pm

I saw Zeppelin’s The Song Remains the Same here at a midnight showing in 1984. Rock n roll!

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on December 14, 2004 at 4:02 pm

There’s a nightclub called Roxy at this address now. Is it in the former theatre space?

meheuck on November 9, 2004 at 2:58 pm

In it’s final days, it had changed it’s name to the Roxy, and operated as a sort of second-tier art house, playing movies that either the Drexel Theatres (Columbus' prime art theatres) didn’t want to play, or had already played out but still had a little business left in them. They also did a lot of interesting midnight movies, premiereing many Troma films. The last movie they played was Vincent Ward’s VIGIL.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on November 9, 2004 at 8:45 am

When it was still the World, it was part of a small chain that also included the Bexley 1&2 in Bexley, and I think a couple of other theaters in other cities. The booking policy of both the Bexley and World gradually devolved from art-house fare to porn. The Bexley was razed within the last 10 years and replaced by a McDonald’s, which itself then closed.