7007 Superior Avenue,
4 people favorited this theater
Firms: Matzinger & Grosel
Opened by 1911, the Ezella Theatre was owned by Modern Theatres, Inc., Owners: The Essex Brothers – Jack & Ray – and a rotund little man named Howard Reif. It was remodeled in 1941-1942 to the plans of architectural firm Matzinger & Grosel. The theatre was almost an exact duplicate of the Vine Theatre in Willoughby, Ohio. My memory is fading, but as best I can recall, it had 1,400 seats on one level. Last time I worked there as a stagehand was in 1958.
The place was in good shape – surprisingly so, since it was located in what was even then considered to be a “seedy” part of town. There was nothing very unusual about the Ezella. It had a large projection booth, with two Super-Simplex projectors fitted with Peerless MagnaArc lamp-houses; an RCA sound system, and “El Cheapo” anamorphic Cinemascope lenses that were vastly inferior to the Bosch & Lomb lenses that were in wide use at the better theatres around town.
One interesting sidelight: Directly across an alley at the rear of the theatre, was a fairly large, two-story wooden storage building that looked like it had survived from the last century. I was told that an undertaker used it to store coffins. About three or-so years after I last worked at the Ezella, I learned that the old building had caught fire, and posed a real danger to the theatre building. Newspaper reports credited a young assistant theatre manager with doing a great job of making an announcement from the stage to the people in the audience, instructing them on the proper manner for safely exiting the theatre. I understand that damage to the Ezella building was minimal.
USELESS TRIVIA: The phone number of the Ezella Theatre, back in 1957 was HE-1-2071. (The ‘HE’ stood for HENDERSON). The building is today home to a church.
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