Parthenon Theatre

5142 S. Hohman Avenue,
Hammond, IN 46320

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PARTHENON Theatre, Hammond, Indiana  - early 1950s.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Parthenon Theatre was opened on March 19, 1921, originally seating over 2,500, it was the second-largest of Hammond’s movie theaters, after the 3,000-plus seat State Theatre. 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 Theatre quickly gained the nickname of “The Wonder Theatre”, not only screening the best first-run features with sound by 1927, but vaudeville into the 1930’s, many of the most famous big bands of the 1930’s and 1940’s, and celebrities such as Harry Houdini, Jack Benny and even Rin-Tin-Tin, the most famous canine star of Hollywood until Lassie.

The Parthenon Theatre’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 seated well over 1,200 alone. Its lobby spaces could fit more than 1,000 patrons, and all the Parthenon Theatre’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-1960’s, and into the 1970’s, the Parthenon Theatre 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 1970’s, groups as diverse as KISS and Rush played at the Parthenon Theatre.

After closing in the early-1980’s, the longest-lasting of downtown Hammond’s great movie palaces was sadly demolished in 1983, and the site has remained an empty plot of land.

Contributed by Bryan Krefft

Recent comments (view all 11 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 22, 2006 at 12:12 am

Here is a 1940 ad from the Hammond Times:
http://tinyurl.com/yc5x4a

jackshaw
jackshaw on November 28, 2006 at 11:12 pm

I worked in Hammond back in the 1970’s. I remember when Aerosmith played at this theater. Hammond was a busting town at that time.

rmarovich
rmarovich on January 9, 2007 at 2:16 pm

Didn’t the Parthenon Theater have an electric clock to the right of the screen and curtains? It had a sort-of sickly green glow to it, making it hard to ascertain the time. Or was the clock at the Paramount down the street? As a child I was fascinated by that clock. Wonder whatever happened to it? Probably either part of the earth now or sold at an antique store… – Bob Marovich

JimSchu
JimSchu on December 22, 2007 at 10:18 am

I have few pictures of the Paramount on my Flickr page:http://www.flickr.com/photos/jimschuster/

JimSchu
JimSchu on December 22, 2007 at 10:19 am

oops I meant to say I have pictures of the Parthenon

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on September 22, 2008 at 7:00 am

Here is an April 1960 ad from the Hammond Times:
http://tinyurl.com/52sbq9

RegionRat
RegionRat on February 27, 2010 at 7:58 am

It’s not even a parking lot. It’s a useless grassy area right next to the downtown Hammond overpass.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 17, 2011 at 11:32 am

Several vintage photos of the Parthenon Theatre can be seen on this web page. The text on the page is mostly quoted from Cinema Treasures, so there’s no new information available.

HHS59
HHS59 on May 20, 2012 at 3:04 pm

You can still visit The Parthenon Theater in Hammond, Indiana by visiting: www.hhs59.com/parthenon.htm

Click on the movie poster of Cary Grant and you will go inside to watch a movie clip. Pretty clever, eh?

Visit the Hammond Theater District (tab) and see other movies from other Hammond Theaters.

If you have any stories, pictures, etc. to add to this array of Hammond movie houses, please share them with us.

Thank you.

Rich

DavidZornig
DavidZornig on May 25, 2014 at 10:18 pm

Several photos added via the Planet Hammond Facebook page.

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