Movie traditions of the past transcend into the present


PHOTO COURTESY OF ROB MONTGOMERY. My family and I walk into Studio 35 to see Mockingjay Part 2.

Grace Montgomery


Going to the movies became popular in the 1920’s as a means of seeing wartime propaganda. People would dress up fancily to go to beautifully designed theaters and be waited on by ushers. Today people dressed in jeans and t shirts are paraded into cold and sticky theaters balancing their children on one arm and their extra-large popcorn as they maneuver down narrow aisles to their severely worn seats.

One of the theaters that defies this new trend is the Drexel Theater, located in Bexley. The Drexel has been central Ohio’s first source for independent film, international cinema, according to their website. It has been registered to the National Register for Historic Places in order to preserve its character.

My most recent excursion to this cinema was to see the “Grand Budapest Hotel.” This film is an example of a film that is not mass produced for the average American theater, but rather it is for specialty theaters like the Drexel.

My friends and I walked up to the theater dressed semi-formal. I was decked in the glow of the blue and red effervescent lights as I waited in line for the ticket booth outside of the theater. As I entered into the lobby there was an elegant countertop with a man dressed in a red cap and in lack of a better term, according to Mental Floss, “more finery than a decorated soldier.”

Walking into the theater, it was decorated very ornately. There was an elegant crown molding and wood work decorating the walls. I walk to my seat and find not only that the floor is carpet (no stickiness) and that the seats were plush and vibrantly red. The film was splendid and my experience overall was superb. Afterwards I went out for ice cream at an 80’s styled diner to stay in the spirit of older times.

Most recently I went to my sister’s apartment in Clintonville, a suburb of Columbus, and we walked over to see Mockingjay Part 2 at a retro theater called Studio 35. We dressed up for this occasion as well because my whole family simply was excited to get in the spirit of mimicking the tradition of going to theater in the past. Again as I walked up I was met with pulsating, Broadway-style lights. As I entered I was met with minimalist posters of classic movies like “The Princess Bride,” “The Avengers” and “Dracula.”

Studio 35 first opened on February 17, 1938, according to the Columbus Dispatch. For almost 80 years this theater has been charming folks not only with its interior and curb appeal, but with its variety of showings. I recently saw Mockingjay Part 2 with my family, but in the past according to the Studio, it does “whatever the [email protected]” it wants. The Drexel has shown independent films, the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” productions, Ohio State viewing parties, Guitar Hero competitions, and cult classics according the the Dispatch.

They have this abundance of food you can order at the bar. You can have the choice to order subs, salads, and even whole pizzas. After grabbing my food, I then proceeded to sit down in a booth for about 2 minutes before my desire to play “Walking Dead” pinball took over. Rarely is pinball a sight I see so I was very excited when my family and I tag teamed in fighting the zombies and getting a new high score for the game.

The theater only has one screen, so not only is it well maintained by the staff, it is also more of an exclusive event for those that go. After walking through the double doors and down a couple of stairs I was greeted with red curtains dancing across the walls. The seats were even more comfortable and most importantly, they had plenty of leg room. In some seats there were tables in front to food and beverages down during the movie.

The commercials were fantastic. They showed memes, local restaurants, and funny snippets of films. When the film started it became pitch black with no light besides the screen, which was great unless you had to go to the bathroom and tend to stumble in broad daylight. The movie officially started off after a classic black and white countdown clicked away numbers against a film strip.

Overall my experiences at both theaters were really memorable. I felt as though I was submerged into a different time period, and overall I am very excited to keep blasting back into the past with more excursions to both of these theaters.