Archive for the ‘Entertainment Venues’ Category

The Real Linda of the Linda Theatre

June 13, 2012

Linda Theatre
1745 Goodyear Boulevard
(330) 784-3443

At one time Akron had dozens of glowing marquees gracing the entrances of classic single-screen cinemas. Regrettably television and multiplexes took over and most of their lights have dimmed. Fortunately the Linda Theatre in Goodyear Heights is one exception.

The Linda was built in 1948 by Ernest Alessio and designed by his sons Lino and Reno, who, at the time, were both under the age of 22. As Lino explained to the Beacon Journal, he was going to hire an architect, but, “He wanted a fortune for the job, so I decided to just design it myself.”

The theater was named after the youngest of the Alessio family, Linda, who was kind enough to submit her memories of the November 18, 1948 opening and more to Interesting Akron:

I remember the grand opening. I was six years old and I wore a white rabbit coat with white rabbit hand muffs. I thought I was a star because my name was up in lights. Roy Rogers came to the opening and I got to sit on his lap, which also made me feel very important.

As I got older I worked at the theater and made popcorn and served at the counter. Later I was an usherette and seated people in the theater. I also carried a flashlight and if I caught a boy kissing a girl I would flash my light on them.

When the theater celebrated it’s 60th birthday, I took my grandchildren through the theater and shared the history with them. My father built the theater as he was Alessio Construction and named the theater after me. My oldest surviving brother, Reno Alessio, managed the theater for years.

Thanks Linda!

Lino Alessio would go on to build numerous other structures in Akron, including the Akron Federal Building, the Main Public Library (not the current library, but the previous one), and several buildings for the University of Akron.

In 2008 Highland Square-based artist Brian Parsons designed and painted a series of murals on the front wall of the Linda depicting locations and individuals from the Goodyear Heights area throughout the Twentieth Century. (Please see images above)

Fortunately the Linda’s marque still illuminates Goodyear Boulevard each day and is currently exhibiting first run features for only $5. Show times can be found on their Facebook page and on Yahoo’s movie site.


Magic City and Midway Twin Drive-In Theaters

April 27, 2011

There are a few other drive-in movie theaters that are about 40 or so miles from Akron, but I think Ravenna is far enough! Here are the final two:

Magic City Drive-In
5602 S. Cleveland-Massillon Rd.
Barberton, OH

The Magic City has a pretty detailed history on their Web page. I do want to state that although the original marquee is still standing, it no longer has the cool Aladdin-themed illustration.

Midway Twin Drive-In
2736 Ohio 59
Ravenna, OH
(330) 296-9829

The architect behind the Midway was Ohioan Jack Vogel, who was known as one of the most creative and prolific drive-in designers in the United States. Although the original screen was destroyed during a storm in 2000, the theater still features much of its original 1955 designs in the marquee and ticket booth, as you can see from the photos above.

Drive-In Movie Theaters

April 10, 2011

Akron’s drive-in movie theater history began in 1937 when the Starlight Auto Theater opened off of 224 near Kelly Ave. and Waterloo. It wasn’t just the first in Akron, it was the first in Ohio and one of the first ten built in the entire country. The theater entertained movie goers until it turned the lights out in 1983, but the street on which it was located still carries its name: Starlight Dr.

The tradition of drive-ins continues today, in fact Ohio has more of them than almost any other state. The numbers continue to dwindle, but it’s usually a close tie with Pennsylvania and sometimes California. Over the next few weeks I will provide a few tidbits about the three drive-ins closest to the Akron area

Blue Sky Drive-In
959 Broad Street
Wadsworth, OH 44281
(330) 334-1809

The Blue Sky Drive-In was built by Dale R. Morrison in 1947. Its original screen was made of wood and had blinking lights that faced the road. Instead of providing a speaker at every parking space, a large speaker attached to the screen blasted the audio for the entire parking lot. Because cars weren’t required the theater would borrow chairs from nearby churches and funeral homes for customers to take a seat.

Leave home a little early to stop by Boss Frosty’s Ice Cream right across the street. They have a 32 ounce milkshake simply called “The Boss.”

I’ll follow up with the other drive-ins soon. I just need to go take pictures!

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