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ALLEN THEATRE

The ALLEN THEATRE, 1501 Euclid Ave., opened on 1 Apr. 1921. It joined the Ohio, State, and Hanna theaters, which had debuted only weeks before. The Allen was constructed in conjunction with the Bulkley Bldg., an 8-story office building on Euclid Ave., just east of E. 14th St. Designed by architect C. Howard Crane, the $1 million showplace was developed by 2 Canadian theater impresarios, Jules and Jay Allen of Toronto. An ornate lobby led to a pillared Italian Renaissance rotunda, its dome 33' high. The balcony seating area was reached from another domed entrance hall, while yet a third dome graced the main arena. Altogether, the Allen could seat 3,003 in opulent surroundings. Because the Allen brothers were not affiliated with a major motion-picture circuit, they experienced difficulty in securing first-run features. In 1932 RKO took over. In 1949 Warner Bros. joined in the theater's management, and finally, in 1953 Stanley-Warner Theatres assumed the lease. Despite the expenditure of $500,000 in 1961 to renovate the Allen, diminishing audiences led to Stanley-Warner's decision to close the theater on 5 Mar. 1968. Although the Allen hosted some of the earliest events in the campaign to restore Cleveland's PLAYHOUSE SQUARE, it was nearly lost amid the subsequent festivities surrounding the reopening of its 3 neighbors, the OHIO, STATE, and PALACE. For several years it housed a restaurant in its lobby, but demolition had already begun in Jan. 1993, when the Playhouse Square Assn. signed a long-term lease to preserve the Allen as part of its downtown theater complex.