The Performing Arts & History Museum at the Grand

Our museum of performing arts is open.  Please call to arrange a tour.  At this time, our Chairman of the Museum, Susanne Curn-Escobar MD is coordinating the fund raising for the restoration, the design of the museum as well as what will be held in the museum's collection.  If you have any questions about the museum, or have something to donate, please contact Scott Dressel at 740-632-2899. 


Individual memories of the Grand are also being collected and are noted below the special story below, you can email the Grand your stories at


The Story of Hedy Lamarr:

   In 1933, a beautiful, young Austrian woman took off her clothes for a movie director. She ran through the woods ... naked. She swam in a lake ... naked. Pushing well beyond the social norms of the period, the movie also featured a simulated orgasm.

    The most popular movie in 1933 was King Kong. But everyone in Hollywood was talking about that scandalous movie with the gorgeous, young Austrian woman.

    Louis B. Mayer, of the giant studio MGM, said she was the most beautiful woman in the world. The film was banned practically everywhere ... which of course made it even more popular and valuable. Mussolini reportedly refused to sell his copy at any price.

    The star of the film, called Ecstasy, was Hedwig Kiesler. She said the secret of her beauty was "to stand there and look stupid." In reality, Kiesler was anything but stupid. She was a genius. She'd grown up as the only child of a prominent Jewish banker. She was a math prodigy. She excelled at science. As she grew older, she became ruthless, using all the power her body and mind gave her.

 Between the sexual roles she played, her tremendous beauty, and the power of her intellect, Kiesler would confound the men in her life ... including her six husbands, two of the most ruthless dictators of the 20th century, and one of the greatest movie producers in history.

 Her beauty made her rich for a time. She is said to have made -- and spent -- $30 million in her life. But her greatest accomplishment resulted from her intellect ...And her invention continues to shape the world we live in today.

 You see, this young Austrian starlet would take one of the most valuable technologies ever developed right from under Hitler's nose. After fleeing to America, she not only became a major Hollywood star ... her name sits on one of the most important patents ever granted by the U.S. Patent Office.

 Today, when you use your cell phone or, over the next few years, as you experience super-fast wireless Internet access (via something called "long-term evolution" or LTE" technology), you'll be using an extension of the technology a 20- year-old actress first conceived while sitting at dinner with Hitler.

 At the time she made Ecstasy, Kiesler was married to one of the richest men in Austria. Friedrich Mandl was Austria 's leading arms maker. His firm would become a key supplier to the Nazis.

 Mandl used his beautiful young wife as a showpiece at important business dinners with representatives of the Austrian, Italian, and German fascist forces. One of Mandl's favorite topics at these gatherings -- which included meals with Hitler and Mussolini -- was the technology surrounding radio-controlled missiles and torpedoes.

 Wireless weapons offered far greater ranges than the wire-controlled alternatives that prevailed at the time. Kiesler sat through these dinners "looking stupid," while absorbing everything she heard ...

 As a Jewish person, Kiesler hated the Nazis. She abhorred her husband's business ambitions. Mandl responded to his willful wife by imprisoning her in his castle, Schloss Schwarzenau. In 1937, she managed to escape. She drugged her maid, Snuck out of the castle wearing the maid's clothes, and sold her jewelry to finance a trip to London.

 (She got out just in time. In 1938, Germany annexed Austria. The Nazis seized Mandl's factory. He was half Jewish. Mandl fled to Brazil. Later, he became an advisor to Argentina's iconic populist president, Juan Peron.)

 In London, Kiesler arranged a meeting with Louis B. Mayer. She signed a long-term contract with him, becoming one of MGM's biggest stars. She appeared in more than 20 films. She was a costar to Clark Gable, Judy Garland, and even Bob Hope. Each of her first seven MGM movies was a blockbuster.

 But Kiesler cared far more about fighting the Nazis than about making movies. At the height of her fame, in 1942, she developed a new kind of communications system, optimized for sending coded messages that couldn't be "jammed."

 She was building a system that would allow torpedoes and guided bombs to always reach their targets. She was building a system to kill Nazis.

 By the 1940s, both the Nazis and the Allied forces were using the kind of single-frequency radio-controlled technology Kiesler's ex-husband had been peddling. The drawback of this technology was that the enemy could find the appropriate frequency and "jam" or intercept the signal, thereby interfering with the missile's intended path.

 Kiesler's key innovation was to "change the channel." It was a way of encoding a message across a broad area of the wireless spectrum. If one part of the spectrum was jammed, the message would still get through on one of the other frequencies being used. The problem was, she could not figure out how to synchronize the frequency changes on both the receiver and the transmitter. To solve the problem, she turned to perhaps the world's first techno-musician, George Anthiel.

 Anthiel was an acquaintance of Kiesler who achieved some notoriety for creating intricate musical compositions. He synchronized his melodies across twelve player pianos, producing stereophonic sounds no one had ever heard before. Kiesler incorporated Anthiel's technology for synchronizing his player pianos. Then, she was able to synchronize the frequency changes between a weapon's receiver and its transmitter.

 On August 11, 1942, U.S. Patent No. 2,292,387 was granted to Antheil and "Hedy Kiesler Markey," which was Kiesler's married name at the time.

 Most of you won't recognize the name Kiesler. And no one would remember the name Hedy Markey. But it's a fair bet than anyone reading this newsletter of a certain age will remember one of the great beauties of Hollywood 's golden age -- Hedy Lamarr. That's the name Louis B. Mayer gave to his prize actress. That's the name his movie company made famous.

 Meanwhile, almost no one knows Hedwig Kiesler -- aka Hedy Lamarr -- was one of the great pioneers of wireless communications. Her technology was developed by the U.S. Navy, which has used it ever since.

 You're probably using Lamarr's technology, too. Her patent sits at the foundation of "spread spectrum technology," which you use every day when you log on to a wi-fi network or make calls with your Bluetooth-enabled phone. It lies at the heart of the massive investments being made right now in so-called fourth-generation "LTE" wireless technology. This next generation of cell phones and cell towers will provide tremendous increases to wireless network speed and quality, by spreading wireless signals across the entire available spectrum. This kind of encoding is only possible using the kind of frequency switching that Hedwig Kiesler invented.


The following memories are compiled from emails and Facebook Grand Theater Fan page posts:

Vicky Gelety Harman

Sweet! I remember riding the bus downtown to see the hr puffinstuff movie at the grand theater with mary caldwell (kliner), shirley kliner smith and shari king (lelli)

Theresa Cline Hofmann

I remember riding the bus from Wintersville to Steubenvlle! I am so homesick and all the wonderful memories of my childhood..... But, am coming home for a visit May 10th, for my Mom's 70th B-Day and to hook up with my childhood, bestest, friend, Ruthi Weeks Hooper!!!! WOOHOO

Anna Lawson Summerville Metcalf

Can't tell you how many many Saturday evenings were spent watching movies in the Grand. Bill and Ruth Powelson managed it at that time and it was always packed. Thank you for working on bringing it back.

Lin Lawson-Ruthem

My first job was at the Grand! Sis, you got me the job, remember? And sis, remember the boy that worked there that I absolutley loved? LOL Lots of memories. It was the summer of my Soph. year at Big Red. I sold tickets all during that summer and all through the school year, working after school and weekends.
Does anybody remember Ruth's poodle or Bill's clarinet? The poodle was always sitting on the glass candy counter when Ruth was there. Anybody remember it's name?
I remember the summer discount tickets-I had to take my little brother and sister every Tues,. rain or shine. I remember working Saturdays, running to downtown Bakery after work for their awesome iced angel food cakes, and watching from the ticket window for my out-of-town boyfriend to show up.
How great it would be so see the old Grand once again operable. Back then, we all felt safe enough to shop until dark or head to the movies without being afraid.
I'd love to see some of the kids I worked with write on here. That would have been around 1964 to 1966A very worthwhile project--THANKS!?  A very worthwhile project.A very worthwhile project--THAA very worthwhile project--THANKS

Anna Lawson Summerville Metcalf

I remember...Date night was movie night...I remember the poodle too. First movie I saw as a "grown-up" big enough to go without the parents was Darby O'Gill and the Little the GRAND...

Lin Lawson-Ruthem

Was I with you?

Anna Lawson Summerville Metcalf was there and Edna

Lin Lawson-Ruthem

Oh dear- did we stop talking and laughing long enough to actually see the movie? LOL

Chris Moorhead I remember kid day down at the old Paramount having kid day My mom would drop us off and we watch a ton of movies all day. Man that was a blast

Stacy Bricker Morton I was a popcorn pusher there in the mid to late 70's Had so much fun I wish I could remember the managers name, he was a trip.

Lois Rupert Moffat Remember when we bought books of movie tickets for summer vacation ? They were sooooo cheap and we saw all the new movies ! I especially remember going to see "Lady Sings the Blues" with Diana the Paramount....with all the glorious red velvet curtains and the little balcony seats !

Carrie Campbell Wow. Grand Theater. So many memories. I remember you could watch the movie until you were tired. Childhood. Fun times. Steubenville sure could use it.

Rebecca Wamsley Van Nuys The last movie I saw there was a Bigfoot movie. My brother and I were old enough that Mom dropped us off alone. Memories!!!

Dee Dettore I remember going to
this theater every Sat. we use to get tickets at school. I will not
tell you what it cost you would not believe me. I think the last show I
saw here was The Ten Commandments. I loved to go here with my Grandma.

Christine Waggoner I remember my Dad taking my younger sister and I there... it was my first time in a theater...we saw "Darby O'Gill and the Little People" and I had nightmares about banshees for days!

Eric M. Reszke I remember the Nuns walking our class down from St. Peter's to watch a film at The Grand. Good times.

Steve Mack I remember seeing some Beatles movies 4 in a row and starting at about midnight.

Bobby Watley Wow, so many memeories at the Grand.....Goetze's Caramel Creams, Hot buttered popcorn......all for $2.oo..........oh n Randolph Scott

Eugene Candal Tickets bought at Grant School would get you in all summer long and the pop corn candy bar and soda would all be under a buck. I know you all remember Ma and Pa Kettle. Come on give up that age and admit it. LOL. I liked the Tarzan movies. Glad someone is restoring it. The Ville deserves it.

Tess Rheinhardt That's great this is getting restored, I've always thought it was a shame it ever closed. I remember watching the exorcist from the balcony...Scary!!!!

Steve Mack I remember seeing some Beatles movies 4 in a row and starting at about midnight.

Tess Rheinhardt

I remember that also, it was like 1976 or 77, I think. I remember walking home around 5 am lol.