Da-Bel Cinema

1920 S. Smithville Road,
Dayton, OH 45403

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Additional Info

Firms: F & Y Building Service

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Previous Names: Da-Bel Theatre

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News About This Theater

Dabel Movie theater

On April 22, 1947 Mid-States Theaters opened the Da-Bel Theatre with Humphry Bogart in “Dead Reckoning” and Penny Singleton in “Blondie’s Big Moment”. It was built at a cost of approximately $125,000. A contest was held to pick a name for the new theatre. Thirteen year old Carol Deitz and Mrs. E. A. Tinnerman each received $50 for suggesting the name of Da-Bel, a combination of DAyton and BELmont, the neighborhood where the theatre was located.

In 1963 plans were made to convert the Da-Bel Theatre to show Cinerama films. The transition involved the installation of a wide, curved screen. Special wiring and booths to hold three separate projectors were installed in the theatre, which reduced the theatre’s seating capacity from 950 to 742 (all on a single floor). The cost of the changes were estimated to run around $40,000. Projection equipment valued at $60,000 was leased from Cinerama. Cinerama debuted at the Da-Bel Theatre on May 28, 1963, with “This is Cinerama”.

Later known as the Da-Bel Cinema, it closed on September 29, 1992 with Rick Moranis in “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids”. It was demolished in October of that same year.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

JimBernier
JimBernier on August 29, 2007 at 3:57 am

Before the Dabel was built between Brownies Market and Steberal’s Market on Smithville, there was an open air “farmer’s type” market on the spot with a big tent in the middle. The tent pole had a telephone on it and when we would come home from downtown (the bus line loop was on Wayne Ave at Smithville), we would call mom to pick us up using that phone. Then they demolished the market place to build the Dabel in 1947. I was eight and joined the “booster” club with my sisters and we all got a badge with a number on it. Every Saturday (no TV!) we would get a quarter and a penny to go to the Dabel and watch the serials and superman (the original) and all of the other 1940 movies. When we bought our tickets for 20 cents, we would have six cents left to buy a candy bar. Sometimes our booster club number would appear on the window of the ticket booth and we would get in free with 26 cents to buy candy and popcorn!

TerryBear
TerryBear on November 9, 2008 at 9:03 pm

Gee…
How The West Was Won
Sound of Music
Circus World
2001: A Space Odyssey
Ice Station Zebra
Grand Prix
Krakatoa East of Java
I’ll never forget going in and sitting down, listening to the overture, and then watching those curtains pull back to reveal that huge curved screen as the movie began. This movie palace gave me my love for movies.

ZookieFreddie
ZookieFreddie on February 22, 2009 at 9:18 pm

Please help me here. Dingoman says he actually saw a movie here in 2001 even though it was torn down in 1992! I moved out of Dayton in 1999 after the drug store had replaced the theater with their own building and it, after that, became a Family Dollar store. Maybe he meant another year for sure?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on February 22, 2009 at 10:13 pm

He’s talking about the Kubrick film 2001.

Coate
Coate on April 7, 2015 at 4:58 pm

It was 50 years ago today that “The Sound of Music” premiered at the Dabel. With a reserved-seat run of 105 weeks, it’s almost certainly the long-run record holder for this venue. (Anyone know of something that ran longer?) It was one of ten runs in the United States and at least 24 globally that ran the movie continuously into a third year.

dickneeds111
dickneeds111 on December 21, 2015 at 11:09 pm

Hey Zookie Freddie. Read Dingoman’s note again. He said he saw the movie 2001 not in the year 2001. Put your glasses on if you can find them and read.

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on February 6, 2021 at 9:59 pm

The Da-Bel closed September 29, 1992 with “Honey, I Blew Up the Kids.” It was razed one week later.

Mark_L
Mark_L on February 8, 2021 at 5:41 pm

A complete list of Cinerama and 70mm Engagements at this theatre is available at the In70mm website

dallasmovietheaters
dallasmovietheaters on March 22, 2021 at 9:45 am

AKA Dabel Cinema
AKA Dabel Theatre

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