Ohio Theatre

105 East Main Street,
Madison, IN 47250

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Ohio in 2010

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Ohio Theatre was built in 1938 and is located in the small Ohio River town of Madison, Indiana. The site where the theater sits first housed a nickelodeon in the early-1900’s, then a movie theatre called the Little Grand Theatre, which burned in 1937.

Rebuilt as the Ohio Theatre in 1938, it ran first run movies until it closed in 1993.

Renovated and reopened in 1996, the now-twinned Ohio continues to show mid-run family targeted movies (no R-rated films) and also operates as a venue for various live events throughout the year.

Contributed by Tony Ratcliff

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

musicformovies
musicformovies on January 29, 2010 at 4:09 pm

Hi, I’m looking for information called the ‘Grand Theatre’ in Madison, Ohio.

This movie theater was active in 1928-29 for sure.

If anybody has any information on this theater please let me know. Would this theater be the same theater as the “Little Grand” per chance? Thanks.

musicformovies
musicformovies on January 29, 2010 at 4:12 pm

I apologize, I meant information on a theater called the ‘Grand Theatre’ in Madison, Indiana.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 20, 2010 at 5:58 am

MusicForMovies: I’ve found that the Grand Theatre and the Little Grand Theatre were different houses. The Grand was originally called the Grand Opera House and had opened in the 19th century. It was later renamed the Grand Theatre (possibly around 1928), and finally became the Madison Theatre, probably in 1940. It was demolished in 1960. Here is its Cinema Treasures page.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 20, 2010 at 10:55 pm

Here’s an item from The Moving Picture World of August 17, 1915:

“The Little Grand, Madison, Ind., has the white brick front about completed.”
In the first two of the photos Wallyum linked to above, white brick can be seen on the Ohio’s facade where some of the modern siding is missing. Face brick of that sort was no longer popular when the theater was rebuilt in 1938, so it is probably the original brick of 1915. The part of the side wall seen in the first photo is obviously pretty old, and is probably a common wall shared with the building next door. There’s probably a common wall on the other side as well. The auditorium can be seen in satellite photos to be wider than the entrance building.

The question is, was the Little Grand’s auditorium on the same footprint as the Ohio’s? If it was, chances are that the Ohio was built entirely inside the shell of the Little Grand after the fire. From what I’ve read here and at other web sites I’ve had the impression that the Ohio was entirely new construction, but it would have been very odd for that white brick facade to have been used on a building erected in 1938, so most likely the front survives from the Little Grand.

musicformovies
musicformovies on September 24, 2010 at 6:43 am

Joe Vogel: Thank you for the information. I own the original theatre pipe organ that was installed in a “Grand Theatre” in Madison, IN. It was originally a Kilgen 2/4 Op. 4163.

With this new information though I’m not sure if it was installed in the “Grand,” or the “Little Grand.” (I know by 1940s it had been removed and installed in a local high school with an additional rank).

Do we have any interior photos of either theater? (i.e. the Pit)

musicformovies
musicformovies on September 24, 2010 at 6:45 am

FYI – the original installation date of the organ was 1928.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 24, 2010 at 10:32 pm

MfM: Most sources I’ve seen say the Little Grand was destroyed in a fire in either 1936 or 1937 (one source said the fire was in 1928, but I think that’s most likely an error.) Had the organ been in the Little Grand at the time of the fire, it would of course have been destroyed along with the theater.

When the Grand Theatre was renamed the Madison Theatre around 1940, it was probably modernized as well, and that would seem a likely time for the organ to have been removed. That fits well with your time line. I’d say the Grand/Madison was most likely the theater your Kilgen originally occupied.

wmadavis
wmadavis on March 6, 2011 at 11:00 pm

“Some Came Running” was filmed in Madison, and it is still shown occasionally at the Ohio. It is a unique experience to see a movie in a theater that appears in the movie you are watching. There are shots of the marquee in the movie. A building next to the theater and one across the street from the theater were utilized for some particular scenes. The interior of the theater has not changed much in at least 40 years. In the 70’s the balcony was enclosed and made into a small second screen. The seats up there are pretty bad and the movies look like they are being projected through a dirty coke bottle. Both screens are a bit stained. The bathrooms are in the basement and there’s a long flight of stairs to the balcony, so if you have to go, it’ll be a long trip. No elevator. Not a friendly place for the elderly in that regard. Also very dark. The past few years when they run “classic” films, what they actually run are DVDs video-projected on the screen, which are very murky-looking. But you can’t beat the atmosphere. Coming out of the theater into downtown Madison, you feel like stepped back into the past. They currently show movies that have been out for a while for $5.00 with a special for $2.00 on Tuesdays, as well as special events.

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