Eastwood Theatre

6800 Pendleton Pike,
Indianapolis, IN 46226

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Eastwood Theatre, 6800 Pendleton Pike

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This theater opened in 1968 with the film “The Impossible Years” and was operated by the Y & W management company. The theater then showcased “Funny Girl” in 70mm. It was designed with a rustic image. It was part of a strip shopping center anchored by a Zayre department store.

The theater in 1974 removed its flat screen and installed a larger curved screen to accomodate the re-release of “This Is Cinerama”. Though there was hesitation to redo the screen, it later was a big pay off as the exclusive venue for “Star Wars”.

The theater had begun in the early-1970’s to be the eastside showcase for all Disney releases, which eventually helped the demise of the neighboring Arlington Theatre, which had been the Disney location for nearly 20 years. The theater thrived on the releases of the other “Sar Wars” movies, but it, too, floundered to the times and was unable to expand to keep up with other locations.

The Eastwood Theatre was torn down and replaced by a Menards.

Contributed by moviemad4life

Recent comments (view all 37 comments)

KnobbysBigKnob
KnobbysBigKnob on January 24, 2014 at 10:31 am

Quick correction for bd57chevy…

The Ayr-Way at Shadeland and Pendleton Pike was the first store built in the chain. It was never a Topps. Topps was west of there at 38th and Arlington.

Eastwood
Eastwood on March 5, 2014 at 2:09 pm

The first public showing of STAR WARS was at 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, 1977. We had 2 invitational (sold out) showings at 8:00 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday prior. We modified the showtimes to add a midnight showing on Friday and Saturday beginning 7 days later beginning on Friday, June 3rd and we continued with midnight shows the remainder of the summer. Our exclusive run for the state of Indiana was for 12 weeks. However, the popularity of the show blew all records and Fox added Glendale, Eastgate, Greenwood and 1 other (I forget) theatre at the 8 week mark with additional openings each week for most of the summer.
Ron Keedy, Eastwood Theatre Manager for STAR WARS.

Eastwood
Eastwood on March 5, 2014 at 2:19 pm

The original name for the Eastwood was the Ayr-East Theatre. Because of its rustic western look Y&W Theatrs (the owners) settle on The Eastwood. It was our tradition, after that, to open a Clint Eastwood movie on Christmas Day each year. The original 25' by 40' screen and red traveler curtains were replaced in 1973 with a 64', 36° curved Cinerama screen for the re-issue of the original 7 Cinerama movies beginning with THIS IS CINERAMA. The Cinerama movies failed at the box office and Cinerama, Inc. abandoned the idea. That is how the giant screen and Cinerama lenses for STAR WARS came to be in the Eastwood. Ron Keedy, Eastwood Theatre Manager beginning in April 1977.

Eastwood
Eastwood on March 5, 2014 at 2:35 pm

The Eastwood did not have to bargain for pictures after the run of STAR WARS; film companies began demanding the Eastwood to open their blockbuster movies. We played STAR WARS for 55 weeks, 1,204 performances, thru June 13, 1978 (including a 1st birthday celebration with a visit from Darth Vader). Closed for two days and decorated the lobby to look like the Frosty Palace Malt Shop for our premiere of GREASE on Wednesday, June 16. Dinah Manoff and Barry Pearl who played Marty and Doody in the film were on to promote the film, meet the guests and sign autographs; arriving in a limo. Dinah Manoff stepped out of the lime dressed as Marty and Barry Pearl popped out of the trunk dressed as Doody. GREASE enjoyed a 28 week run leading up to the opening of our Christmas picture that year, Disney’s BLACK HOLE. Other great pictures followed for shorter runs leading up to our June 1979 premier of ALIEN. Ron Keedy, Eastwood Theatre Manager, beginning in April 1977.

Eastwood
Eastwood on March 5, 2014 at 2:42 pm

One last note: When the Eastwood opened Ayr-Way East (owned by Ayres) was the anchor store. It became a Target store, was closed for awhile and finally became Menards, which it is today. The Eastwood was gutted. However, the outer walls are still in place and are part of the Menards lumber year. Although difficult to see, you can walk over there and tell where the building is and walk inside and you can see where the rear exit doors were. The wonderful Adams family (for real) owned the Dairy Queen in the north parking lot of the Eastwood. Ron Keedy, Eastwood Manager, beginning in April 1977.

bd57chevy
bd57chevy on March 18, 2014 at 7:55 am

I stand corrected. It was Ayres. My how our memory goes… but not for Ron and Dave! Ron, thanks for all the nostalgia talk. Great memories. I worked there for Marty Carr and crew for a few years. Great times!

Coate
Coate on March 18, 2014 at 12:53 pm

Eastwood wrote: “The first public showing of STAR WARS was at 12:45 p.m. on Wednesday, May 25, 1977. We had 2 invitational (sold out) showings at 8:00 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday prior. We modified the showtimes to add a midnight showing on Friday and Saturday beginning 7 days later beginning on Friday, June 3rd and we continued with midnight shows the remainder of the summer.”

Thank you for that, including clarifying the situation with the midnight screenings. On this comments page way back in 2006 I couldn’t seem to convince another member that any midnight screenings of the original STAR WARS took place after the opening rather than on opening night. There was simply no way an unheard of movie would open with a midnight screening on a Tuesday night during the spring in the Mid-West.

And here are a few things that don’t quite match up with my research….

Eastwood wrote: “Our exclusive run for the state of Indiana was for 12 weeks. However, the popularity of the show blew all records and Fox added Glendale, Eastgate, Greenwood and 1 other (I forget) theatre at the 8 week mark with additional openings each week for most of the summer.”

My research shows that the expanded bookings of STAR WARS during Week #9 were actually at Lafayette Square and Regency, not the ones you cite. (Glendale played it the following summer during the saturation re-release.)

Eastwood wrote: “The original 25' by 40' screen and red traveler curtains were replaced in 1973 with a 64', 36° curved Cinerama screen for the re-issue of the original 7 Cinerama movies beginning with THIS IS CINERAMA. The Cinerama movies failed at the box office and Cinerama, Inc. abandoned the idea. That is how the giant screen and Cinerama lenses for STAR WARS came to be in the Eastwood.”

Only the first Cinerama film got re-released. There may have been plans to do more or all of them but ultimately only the first one got re-released in 1973.

Eastwood wrote: “GREASE enjoyed a 28 week run leading up to the opening of our Christmas picture that year, Disney’s BLACK HOLE.”

THE BLACK HOLE was a Christmas 1979 release, not 1978. So which film actually played the Eastwood at Christmas 1978? I know it wasn’t SUPERMAN. Maybe INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS? Or, given the Clint Eastwood connection…EVERY WHICH WAY BUT LOOSE?

Eastwood wrote: “Other great pictures followed for shorter runs leading up to our June 1979 premier of ALIEN.”

ALIEN opened May 25th, the same day as STAR WARS two years earlier.

Martyj
Martyj on March 18, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Coate, I worked at the Eastwood during the very years you are trying to reconstuct. You might be right about Xmas 78 being “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” I remember that playing there at some point. Also remember in August of 79 the Who documentary “The Kids are All Right” opened when “Alien” ended its run, and it was the first time in a loooong time that the theatre showed something that was less than a hit. Maybe it was booked there because “Tommy” had played so well 5 years earlier, but I remember “Kids” playing to mostly empty houses after a decently attended opening night. I think they wound up pulling it earlier than planned. But Ron Keedy should be able to clear up some of my dim memories.

Eastwood
Eastwood on March 19, 2014 at 3:51 am

The only fact I’m going to stick to is that I was the person threading the projectors and turning them on during most of the films mentioned. If I have a date wrong or a title out of sequence, so be it. I’m trying to share some memories of a great theatre and an era I was a part of, not compile a minute by minute CIA report. I think this is tainting the spirit of what the Eastwood was all about. I’m now 68 years old, have been in this business 50+ years and have worked just about every theatre in Marion and surrounding counties. I thought it would be fun to keep these memories alive for Cinema Treasures whether in the correct order or not. If everyone feels their research is correct and wants to post it, have at it. Thanks, Ron Keedy

MartyMelville
MartyMelville on March 24, 2014 at 2:38 pm

Ron, your info is much appreciated. For a while, the Eastwood was the premiere avenue for blockbusters… many fond memories of opening nights for Star Wars, Alien and Invasion of the Body Snatchers. And the sound system for Tommy gave me a headache for 24 hours!

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