5 Trademarks of Nite Owl Theatre

You guys asked for it and we delivered! Columbus’s very own Fritz the Night Owl graces the Ohio Theatre with his one-of-a-kind portrayals of all our favorite movies. This year, Fritz is taking over, showing the Fright Nite Friday screening of The Shining in full-on Nite Owl Theatre style!

If you’re not from central Ohio, Fritz the Nite Owl was the most recognizable TV personality in Columbus throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s. He hosted late-night movies for 6,205 consecutive nights between 1974 and 1991. During that time, Fritz the Nite Owl developed a talent for special effects that were especially rare for local TV, and as a result won five Emmy Awards for his work! After years on hiatus, local filmmaker Mike McGraner proposed a reboot of Nite Owl Theatre, and a beautiful partnership was born!


If you’ve never been lucky enough to witness a Fritz show, here are four trademarks of Nite Owl Theatre featuring Fritz the Nite Owl.

1) The Glasses

Fritz’ signature owl glasses are a staple to his look. He is almost unrecognizable without them! “Elton John was big at that time, they came up with the idea of the big glasses,” said Fritz. “Our artist went to Revco and found a $10 pair of Christian Dior sunglasses and added the Masonite horns, then broke a mirror and glued the little shards of mirror to the horns.” And thus, a trademark look was created.

2) The cameos

Part of what makes a Fritz show is the “cameos” he makes throughout the films. With some green-screen magic, he inserts himself into segments of the film to stop to tell you some fun facts about what you’re watching – but don’t worry, it won’t interrupt the regular movie! It’s hilarious AND educational!

3) The Commercial Breaks

To add some authenticity, the film will be shown with vintage “commercial breaks” relating to each film. A little homage to where Fritz got his start: late night television.

4) The special effects

It wouldn’t be Nite Owl Theatre without the campy, 1980’s special effects. See Fritz floating through space. See Fritz with two heads. See Fritz spiraling off the screen. These fabulously retro effects are part of what makes Nite Owl Theatre so unique, and so Fritz!


5) The National Anthem

Be sure to stay past the credits! An essential part to Nite Owl Productions is the National Anthem once the credits have ended. Another homage to late night television, when stations would play the National Anthem to conclude their broadcast day.

Fritz the Nite Owl will host the special Nite Owl Theatre screening of The Shining (starring Jack Nicholson) on July 7, at Fright Nite Friday at the CAPA Summer Movie Series. Tickets are $5 at the door, or $30 for a strip of 10 tickets. The full movie schedule is available here.

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