"" Writer's Wanderings: Fright Night Friday in Columbus, Ohio

Monday, July 28, 2014

Fright Night Friday in Columbus, Ohio

No, it's not Halloween yet but this past weekend we headed south for a softball double header "starring" our granddaughter. We wanted to be there on time for the first game so we planned an over-nighter and went out to dinner with Bob's brother and his wife. They had planned an evening at a classic movie showing in one of the downtown theaters and invited us along. What a treat!

The Ohio Theater was absolutely beautiful! It was opened in 1928 as a Loew's movie house that seated over 2700 people. It became home to many other productions and popular on the vaudeville circuit. It thrived as a movie house until the suburban sprawl pulled business away. In 1969, a group formed to save the Ohio from demolition and restore its grandeur. (A similar thing took place in our Cleveland Playhouse Square area.) The Columbus Association for the Performing Arts (CAPA) owns the theater and it is now home to the Columbus Symphony Orchestra, Balletmet, and the Broadway Series as well as over a 100 other events including Fright Night Friday.

Before the Fright Night Friday movies began the huge Wurlitzer organ rose from the floor and we enjoyed a half hour of wonderful music from Broadway musicals and old movies. It was worth the price of admission alone ($4).

In the 60s and 70s, Cleveland had its Ghoulardi (Ernie Anderson). In the 70s, Columbus had Fritz the Night Owl as host to their classic horror flicks. He was the star attraction before and during the shows. The movies were true classic horror, The Return of the Vampire (1944) starring Bella Lugosi and Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) starring Fredric March. We stayed through the first one and smiled at the 1944 version of special effects. Lugosi's face melts as the vampire dies. It was a wax mask of the actor's face. Very effective, though.

I did have a nightmare that night but it wasn't Bella Lugosi who grabbed me. It was the character in the novel I'm writing. Guess I need to get it done and out of my head. There'll be more time to watch classic movies then.

Does your city have a classic movie fest in the summer?

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