Author: Scott Gampfer, Associate Vice President for Collections & Preservation
Lionel Hampton, renowned jazz musician and bandleader, known for his work on the vibraphone, piano, and drums, appeared at Cincinnati’s Regal Theater on Saturday, August 18, 1956. Hampton had appeared at the Regal Theater before. The Regal, built around 1908 at the corner of Clark and Linn Street, had become an important part of the thriving West End neighborhood and hosted feature films, musical acts, and other live stage entertainment.
Part of the history object collection, this curved poster is printed on thick stock and is 3.5 feet wide by 5 feet tall. The details for the local appearance are painted at the top of the piece with poster paints and on two smaller panels that are stapled to the face of the poster. When recovered, the poster was covered with a thick layer of dust and grime and had to be carefully hand-cleaned in the history library’s conservation lab. Curators weren’t certain of the year of Hampton’s appearance, but a staff member who viewed the poster when it was first exhibited, said that she was at that show and that it was in 1956. A quick check of the Cincinnati Enquirer newspaper from 1956 confirmed her recollection.
The old Regal Theater (originally built as the Casino Theater) still stands awaiting restoration in the West End.