Showing 3 comments
I remember working as a youth as a stocker for GC Murphy 5&10 next door to the Kruetzers Office Supply. Old Mr. Kruetzer advised me that a theatre had been in the building long ago when I asked about the back layout. None of the others ever mentioned it. Oddly enough on the fourth floor of the building right next to Kruetzers I found a fan that had “Loomis” on it. I was only 12 back then and unfortunately didn’t realize the history it carried. I doubt any of the artifacts of the old theatre are left inside now, but I think the front of what used to be Kruetzers is the same front that was the “Ritz” based on the photos I have seen. Unfortunately the Photo History seems to be lost. Perhaps the Miami County Museum Archives may have more information.
The Wallace Theatre was smaller than the Roxy, however it did have it’s own unique charm, including the entry to the theatre. This was another one of those theatres that many traveling acts came to perform at, and due to it’s smaller size it allowed for a more entertaining experience. As a movie theatre it held it’s own for many years. Unfortunately it’s market dried up, and since it lacked the grandeur of the Roxy there was never a real effort to preserve it. It’s auditorium was long and respectively more narrow (with 720+ seats) compared to the grand auditorium of the Roxy. By 1961, poorly maintained by the Alliance Theatre Group, the old Wallace Theatre passed into the memories of theatres gone by. It too was lost to the wrecking ball. It was a sad loss too, because of the acoustics of that old theatre. Had she survived the trend of destroying such old treasures, she surely would have made a great community theatre.
The Roxy Theatre in Peru Indiana had a long and proud life until short sited city planners failed to realize the importance of this classic theatre whose screen was crowned with the MGM lion, and after a small fire tore it down. The theatre featured unique bowl seating on two levels near the stage for dignitaries, and over 1,000 seats. Prior to the movies that most of my generation remember watching at the theatre, the Roxy also hosted performances by many great artists, including Bob Hope, Jerry Lewis, Cole Porter, to name just a few. In it’s old dressing rooms closed to the public signatures could be found on some of the walls. Sadly as it started into it’s decline in the late 60’s, the theatres once glorious interior was painted in two shades of green hiding its great beauty. I remember watching “The Glory Guys, The Chism Trail, and Chitty Chitty Bang Bang in that awesome old theatre as a child. It was an experience no other theatre has ever come close to replicating. The screen was gigantic compared to today’s theatres. It had a proud marquee, which thankfully partially survives on the side of the Circus Festival Building. At one time Peru had three great theatres, sadly all but one of the original structures are gone now. The one remaining theatre was long ago stripped of its equipment and walnut seating and has in years since served as a newsmart, calculator store, and other retail establishments. Yet it’s back room (the old auditorium) still at least most of the wall tile as recently as 2010. Peru is an amazingly theatrical town from which three theatrical greats came from including the great Cole Porter. Recently Peru built a new theatre which though celebrating the classic theatre lost so long ago lacks the heritage of that great theatre. Still, I am certain that the citizens of Peru are very thankful to have their modern Roxy. May she bring as many positive memories to them as the old Roxy brought to those who had the great opportunity to enjoy her.