Spotlight: The Westwood Art Theater in Toledo (Closing May 21, 2011)




















The Westwood Art Theatre
1602 West Sylvania Ave., Toledo, OH

The Stats (from Cinema Treasures)
Style: Spanish Colonial
Seating: 650
Status: Open (until May 21st, 2011)
Date of top photo: September 2010




















Doc here...As regular readers of The Journal know by now, The Westwood Art Theatre in Toledo, Ohio will be closing it's doors forever this Saturday night, May 21st, 2011.  The Journal broke the news of the closing on April 20th, after a tip from a regular patron of The Westwood e-mailed The Good Doctor. I was able to confirm the story later that night and ran the story the next day.

As many of us in this thing of ours have witnessed the closing of various adult theaters across the country, and closings like this one should not surprise us any longer.  These large old movies houses, built anywhere from the late 1920's through the 1960's, are a vestige from the past. They are difficult to maintain, costly to heat/cool, and just plain old.  There are so few of the large movie house-style adult theaters left, the ones that are left are on the endangered species list.

As I mentioned in my report last month on the closing, it was not pressure from local authorities that is causing the closing of The Westwood.  It is the aforementioned cost of upkeep by the landlord, and the landlord's refusal to make the capital improvements to keep The Westwood viable.

So with this in mind, and as we head into the final weekend of The Westwood, let's look at the only older photos I could find on the net of the theater:
The Westwood Theatre
circa early 40's, based on the car in the photo

















Now compare side by side from the photo I took last year of The Westwood:



 Not much has changed in the 70 years (+/-) between photos.

Westwood Theatre
circa 1962
Researching this photo took some detective work on The Good Doctor's part, since the site I pulled this from has the photo as undated.  I had to look up the movie on the marque, "The Family Way", and then find out when it was released (1962).  In '62, the theater was roughly 9 years away from transitioning to adult fare.

Thank you IMDB!









Westwood Theatre
circa 1982

This photo is from 1982, arguably the prime of the adult theater scene as we know it now.  The Westwood had a sister theater across town, and was named The Eastwood.  It too, during the same era, showed adult fare

The following quote excerpted from a user at Cinema Treasures:      "I spent far too many nights in this theater. The outside isn't much to look at but the lobby and auditorium were wonderful. It was built originally in 1926, and is a 'sister' theatre to the Eastwood Theatre (now a church). The outside of the Westwood Theatre was remodeled sometime in the 1960's. Screening adult movies for 30 years, it is set to close in May 2011."

The exterior in the 1962 photo is almost no different than the 1982 photo, in terms of the exterior and signage.





The Eastwood Theater, now and then
2009
1983












The Eastwood Theatre has a few exterior features similar to The Westwood, but it's not an identical twin.  Capacity was listed as 500 (smaller than The Westwood). Neither theater had a balcony. The theater is still standing, but it was being used as a church up until at least 2009.

Another user at Cinema Treasures had this to say about The Westwood and it's ownership: "The Westwood presumably was owned by the same owners as the Westwood, Heights and Continental in Cleveland during the 60s and 70s--same logo and films as the Heights & Westwood (the Continental went toward blaxploitation fare in its later days). Whereas the Cleveland theaters quit showing X-rated films in the 70s, the Westwood continued to do so. The theater anchored what used to be the shopping district for what was known as "West Toledo".

The last official act The Westwood will play is the auction on May 25th, 2011 of remaining inventory and fixtures. 

So, as we approach the last weekend for the grand old Westwood Theatre, it really is up to us to provide and create the last memories of this auditorium.

The Good Doctor has finalized his plans and will be covering the last weekend at The Westwood for The Journal.  Unfortunately, I have been at several "last nights" of adult theaters over the years.  Every one of them has been a memorable night in it's own right, and I am confidant this will be one as well.

So if you make it there this weekend, and see a Sicilian doctor who might or might not be wearing aviator sunglasses, and is taking notes, it just might be The Good Doctor.  Say hi and introduce yourself.  This thing of ours is a close circle of enthusiasts, and getting to know people in different cities has been fun for me. 

Let's enjoy this last weekend.

Have a question or comment for the Good Doctor?  E-mail Jack Palance The Good Doctor at emiliolizardo1@gmail.com.

Thanks,
Doc

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