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HIPPODROME THEATER

The HIPPODROME THEATER was located in an 11-story office building at 720 Euclid Ave. Designed by Cleveland architect John Elliot, the "Hipp" featured exceptionally good acoustics, a lavish interior, grandiose spaciousness, and a second entrance on Prospect Ave. Considered to be among the world's great playhouses, it attracted performers such as Enrico Caruso, Sarah Bernhardt, W. C. Fields, Will Rogers, Al Jolson, and John McCormack. The auditorium had boxes, 2 balconies with elevators, and seating for 3,548. The stage was equipped to handle large-scale productions and spectacles such as operas. The world's 2nd-largest, next to the Hippodrome in New York, it measured 130' wide, 104' deep, 110' high, and could be lifted to 4 different levels by hydraulic jacks. On one level was an 80x40x10-ft. water tank used for water spectacles. The theater was built in 1907 by an operating company headed by Max Faetkenhauer at a cost of $800,000. After several years, theater operations were leased to B. F. Keith. In 1922 Walter Reasoner took over operations, followed by RKO in 1929. Remodeling in 1931 made it the largest American theater devoted entirely to motion pictures. A large portion of the stage was removed, while the main floor was lowered and a new mezzanine added to increase seating to above 4,000. In 1933 the theater went bankrupt, and operations were taken over by Warner Bros. In 1951 it became part of the Telenews chain, and in 1972 the property was purchased by Alvin Krenzler. The last of the major downtown movie houses to close, the Hipp's downfall came when the office space was closed and the theater's revenues proved insufficient to support the building. The Hippodrome was demolished in 1981 to make way for a parking lot.