5142 S. Hohman Avenue,
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The Parthenon was opened on 19th March 1921, originally seating over 2500, it was the second-largest of Hammond’s movie theaters, after the 3000-plus seat State. It was originally operated as part of the Warner Brothers circuit, one of their earliest houses outside of California.
Opening night’s program several vaudeville and musical acts, a couple of film shorts, and the Douglas Fairbanks feature, “The Nut”.
The luxurious and highly ornate neo-Italian Renaissance Baroque style Parthenon quickly gained the nickname of “The Wonder Theatre”, not only screening the best first-run features, with sound by 1927, but vaudeville into the 30s, many of the most famous big bands of the 30s and 40s, and celebrities such as Harry Houdini, Jack Benny and even Rin-Tin-Tin, the most famous canine star of Hollywood until Lassie.
The Parthenon’s spacious auditorium featured one of the earliest Hammond movie houses with unobstructed sight lines, thanks to its large reinforced steel and concrete balcony, which sat well over 1200 alone. Its lobby spaces could fit more than 1000 patrons, and all the Parthenon’s public areas were richly decorated, like a Renaissance era princely palace, and furnished with the finest artwork and furniture, including caged songbirds in the main lobby.
By the late 60s, and into the 70s, the Parthenon began to be used more for rock concerts than as a movie house, beginning in 1967, when Sonny and Cher appeared on stage to promote their movie, “Good Times”. During the 70s, groups as diverse as KISS and Rush played at the Parthenon.
After closing in the early 80s, the longest-lasting of downtown Hammond’s great movie palaces was sadly demolished in 1983, replaced by a parking lot.
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