Heights Theater, 1941


This file appears in: Coventry Village
Heights Theater, 1941

The Heights Theater opened in 1919 and contained 1200 seats. In 1964, the theater (then known as the Heights Art Theater) was the subject of the United States Supreme Court case Jacobellis V. Ohio. The case stemmed from a 1959 showing of the French film Les Amants (The Lovers), which featured a risque love scene.

On the film's opening night, the Cleveland Heights Police raided the theater, seized the film, and arrested manager Nico Jacobellis, who was subsequently convicted of obscenity charges in Cuyahoga County Court. He appealed the case all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which overturned his conviction in 1964, ruling that the movie could not be considered obscene and was thus protected under the First Amendment. Justice Potter Stewart gave the most famous quote from the ruling. Certain that Les Amants was not pornographic, but unable (or unwilling) to define exactly what pornography was, he insisted that "I know it when I see it," which came to be an oft-repeated catchphrase..

Image courtesy of Cleveland Heights Historical Society


This file appears in: Coventry Village