Imperial Theatre

282 McMicken Avenue,
Cincinnati, OH 45214

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Additional Info

Functions: Furniture Showroom

Previous Names: Mowhawk Family Vaudeville Theatre, Imperial Follies

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Imperial Theatre, Cincinnati, OH

This theatre was a neighborhood theatre in the Mohawk section of Cincinnati on McMicken Avenue. In the mid-1960’s, they started showing adult movies (back then they were rated X, but now those movies would be a “soft R”.) Later in the 1960’s, they had live burlesque shows and renamed it Imperial Follies.

It was empty in 2004, now the building remains with its marquee, in use as a furniture store.

Contributed by Joe Allen

Recent comments (view all 31 comments)

markp
markp on February 11, 2011 at 9:27 am

While watching “Police Women of Cincinnati last night, there is a quick shot of the Imperial marquee in one of the scenes.

hanksykes
hanksykes on July 2, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Although this building still functions as a place to buy a mattress a recent for sale sign is posted on its facade.

hanksykes
hanksykes on February 7, 2013 at 5:04 pm

The top of this cinemas facade has been tagged with a gang name!

hanksykes
hanksykes on November 13, 2013 at 7:41 pm

This Imperial Th. has a balcony and was opened with an open front which housed a sidewalk ticket booth. Later the front area recieved a glass facade and entrance doors in the 1920’s.

Joeallen
Joeallen on October 9, 2014 at 5:35 am

I found an old pic of the Imperial from the 1920s before that marquee was put up. I know it’s genuine because I know how the neighborhood looks. But I don’t know how to post it here. First time I saw that pic and it is really neat. I can e-mail it to you if you want to see it.

hanksykes
hanksykes on August 8, 2015 at 5:05 pm

Imperial Th. recently purchased and being returned to a working venue again!

imperialdm
imperialdm on December 7, 2015 at 12:15 pm

@hanksykes, Do you know how I can a photo of the Imperial in it’s day? I have a family member who worked there when it was a movie theatre.

hanksykes
hanksykes on December 7, 2015 at 8:11 pm

If you go to utube and put in Camp Washington 1934 that will bring you to a wonderful 5 minute movie of the Imperial Theater area, hopes this helps you. Until son, Hank

meheuck
meheuck on September 7, 2018 at 1:48 am

The building was purchased a few years ago, and the owners have been very good about cleaning up the place and trying to revive it as a theatre space, though naturally it’s a long, slow, hard process. The neighborhood it’s in has recently been branded the Sohn-Mohawk Historic District, giving it historic protection and thus new incentive to rehab the space. There is a Facebook group, though updates are sporadic:

https://www.facebook.com/Imperialtheater/

meheuck
meheuck on April 5, 2022 at 3:24 pm

I was able to get a tour of the theatre from the people working on renovating it. Their plans are very ambitious, involving developing the lot next door for more arts-based activity and hosting. They’re still looking for funding, but they appear to be well organized so I think they can pull it off. Can we change the status to “renovating”?

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