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For more than 30 years, John Kiesewetter has been the source for information about all things in local media — comings and goings, local people appearing on the big or small screen, special programs, and much more. Contact John at

Library's 'Cinema Cincinnati' Celebrates Area Theaters, Stars, Movies

Courtesy Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
Marquee for the old Twin Drive-In in Norwood.

Cincinnati's rich movie history will be celebrated by the main Public Library downtown with a "Cinema Cincinnati" exhibit of photographs and memorabilia from Saturday, Oct. 12 through Sunday, Jan. 26.

The display includes pictures from some of the 50 films shot here; Cincinnati's biggest movie stars; Cincinnati's old movie theaters; and movie merchandise manufactured by Kenner Toys.

Credit Courtesy Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County
The Albee on Fifth Street was torn down for construction of The Westin hotel.

"I consider the theaters as kind of the backbone of the exhibit. I've kind of made it a timeline, starting with the nickelodeons that opened around West Fifth Street," research librarian Brian Powers told me on "Around Cincinnati" Sunday night.  Here'sa link to the 14-minute interview.

"Cinema Cincinnati," in the third-floor Joseph S. Stern Jr. Cincinnati Room, will have pictures of The Albee and Skywalk Cinema downtown, Norwood's Twin Drive-In, the Valley Theater in Roselawn; and other neighborhood and downtown theaters.

"I wanted to show how the movie-going experience evolved," he said.

Credit Courtesy Wikipedia
Theda Bara as Cleopatra in 1917.

The collection includes photos of Cincinnati natives Doris Day, Tyronne Power, Roy Rogers and silent star Theda Bara; a picture of young George Clooney in a period costume for TV's Centennial miniseries (1978) filmed near his home in  Augusta, Ky.; and child actor Sarah Jessica Parker in an early 1970's "Young People's Special" TV show produced by WLWT-TV's owner, Multimedia Entertainment.

On display will be photos from The Asphalt Jungle (1950), Harper Valley P.T.A. (1978), Eight Men Out (1988) to many recent films shot here, he said.

Kenner's Star Wars, Jurassic Park, Ghostbusters and other movie toys also will be represented.  The display could grow if area residents donate more "cool stuff" the library doesn't have.

"If anyone has anything cool, I don't mind adding stuff," he said. "It will be up for three months. I'm willing to put it in there if I've got space for it."

In conjunction with the exhibit, the library also has scheduled:

THEDA BARA SCREENING: Bara's 1915 silent film, A Fool There Was, will be screened 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 23, at The Esquire, 320 Ludlow Ave., Clifton, followed by University of Cincinnati senior librarian and archivist Kevin Grace discussing Bara's unpublished autobiography.

LOST AND FOUND THEATERS OF THE QUEEN CITY: Theater historian Hank Sykes will share images of Cincinnati's early amusement parlors, nickelodeons, grand theaters, burlesque and vaudeville houses 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 6, at the main public library downtown.

John Kiesewetter, who has covered television and media for more than 35 years, has been working for Cincinnati Public Radio and WVXU-FM since 2015.