106 W. Pike Street,
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The Elder Theatre was opened in late 1942, by Elder Duff, designed in Streamline Moderne style, and seating about 500. The Elder Theatre was the first theater in Ohio to feature a cry room, with soundproof glass, rocking chairs and cribs. It was designed so the screen was still clearly visible, but obviously the sound could not be heard. Originally, the Elder’s staff was entirely female, and all wore navy and gold uniforms.
The Elder Theatre went through two ownership changes after Elder Duff sold his theater in 1949, until it was closed in 1981. Rodney and Becky Miller purchased the Elder Theatre in 1982, and while it was in the midst being renovated and restored, it was reopened, in late 1982, with “Rocky III”.
The Millers put much effort into improving the aging house, including new paint, carpeting, a restored marquee, and a new concession area, carved out of the former standee area, at the rear of the Elder’s auditorium. (Which the Millers would repeat in 1986 when they renovated the Ada Theatre). At this time, seating was also reduced to 375.
New projection and sound equipment was installed, and a new screen replaced the Cinemascope-era screen installed in the Elder Theatre in the 1950’s.
The Millers celebrated the Elder’s 50th anniversary in 1992 by screening the classic “Casablanca”, with admission prices of thirty cents for adults and ten cents for children, as in 1942.
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