Parsons Theatre

1291 S. Parsons Avenue,
Columbus, OH 43215

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rivest266 on November 11, 2021 at 12:10 am

This opened as Parsons on February 5th, 1927. Article posted

sampson159 on October 31, 2013 at 1:21 am

went there with a friend back in the 70s.topless ushettes!a girl i went to school with and had a crush on walked me to my seat.i was very embarrassed and extremely uncomfortable for the visit.left after 20 was called the paris theater back then

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 4, 2011 at 3:42 am

Rivest’s ultimate list of movie theatres. It’s a useful resource for some purposes, but has only limited information about most of the theaters, and a lot of tentative surmises (usually followed by question marks.)

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on June 4, 2011 at 3:34 am

What is a ‘Rivest Site’ ?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 22, 2010 at 6:19 pm

Where did you find the 1935 date?

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on October 22, 2010 at 6:15 pm

Open ~1935-~____? Anyone care to verify the exact dates?

Need more info of the early years and photos.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 17, 2010 at 10:15 pm

We don’t have a listing for the Airport Drive-In either. Can you add that one as well?

Mark_L on October 17, 2010 at 10:12 pm

You can also include the Airport Drive-In, the North High Drive-In and the Hudson, which ran “selected films for the liberated adult male audience”. The “Adult Theatre” was previously the Markham. There may have been others, but I haven’t found them yet.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 17, 2010 at 9:56 pm

The X-rated ads I remember seeing in the Dispatch and C-J were for the Little Art, New Paris, Livingston Art, Adult Theatre (yep, that was its name), Garden, Bexley, and World. All of these are listed here except for the Little Art, which was on North High Street. Can you add it?

The Little Art and the New Paris ran similar-looking ads, with the same movies moving over from one house to the other after a week.

Mark_L on October 17, 2010 at 9:48 pm

Thanks for the tip on that, Ron. There were more adult theatres in the late 60’s than I thought. I’ll be working on a separate list of Columbus adult theatres.

The C B S Partnership appears to be only a local real estate group, not affiliated with the network. They may also have an office in the German Village area, close to Parsons Avenue.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 17, 2010 at 8:39 pm

is the ‘CBS Partnership’ somehow related to the TV and radio networks?

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 17, 2010 at 8:36 pm

My recollection is that the Dispatch stopped running ads for X-rated movies but the Citizen-Journal continued carrying them.

Mark_L on October 17, 2010 at 12:56 pm

Yes…name change to PARIS came in late 1963…first PARIS FOLLIES, then PARIS ART. Closing dates are hard with this type of theatre as the newspapers stopped listing them in the late 60’s.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 17, 2010 at 12:03 pm

In the late 1960s and early 70s, I recall newspaper ads for the ‘New Paris Cinema’ on Parsons Ave. which showed X-rated movies. Was this the same place?

Mark_L on October 17, 2010 at 6:12 am

Yes, the Parsons showed some real porn in later years, and Columbus tried very hard to shut it down.

1291 Parsons is the correct address for this theatre. The Rowlands family bought the property in 1931, holding the property until 1961 when it was sold to the Catalan family, who changed the name to the Parsons Follies, running “adult” films. ART was added to the name at a later time.

During the first 2/3 of the 20th century, that was a flourishing area with a few theatres and a large retail area. After about 1970, the area became more and more run-down. Areas about 1 mile west of here are restored homes from the early 20th century and have some of the highest property values in the city.

That property is now owned by the CBS Partnership of Pataskala Ohio, who own 7 other properties nearby. The land is valued at just under $70,000 and is zoned for a restaurant or bar.

Thanks, Joe, for the Bob Greene reference. I’ll add it to my notes.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 17, 2010 at 5:09 am

CinemaTour says the Parsons Theatre was 1291 S. Parsons Avenue, and lists it as closed, but Google street view shows nothing resembling a theater in that area. There are a couple of vacant lots, though. It’s a very old neighborhood with small houses and a few apartment buildings and scattered businesses. The Parsons must have been a small neighborhood house from long ago which fell on hard times as the area declined. The theater has probably been demolished.

A search of Google Books brings up these snippets from a 1976 book by newspaper columnist Bob Greene: “I remember when I was 15, in Columbus, Ohio, my friends and I would go down to the Parsons Art Theater on a Friday night…. But the Parsons Theater was in 1962….”

The “Art” in “Parsons Art Theater” in 1962 didn’t refer to foreign films, though. In a 2001 Chicago Tribune column, Bob Greene revisited the events mentioned in his earlier book. The column is online. It doesn’t give any more information about the theater, except to reveal that it ran dirty movies.

They were undoubtedly the relatively tame filmed burlesque acts of the sort I recall seeing advertised at the Oaks Theatre in Pasadena in those days. The Oaks usually said “Nudie Cuties” on its marquee, and the poster cases featured pictures of chunky, big-breasted women sporting pasties that barely concealed their areolae. It all seems so quaint now. Perhaps the Parsons survived long enough to show real porn in later years, but if it did, Bob Greene isn’t saying.

Ron Newman
Ron Newman on October 17, 2010 at 3:43 am

Do you have a street address for this? What is now on the site?