Eastwood Theatre

6800 Pendleton Pike,
Indianapolis, IN 46226

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The Eastwood Theatre opened September 11, 1968 with the film “The Impossible Years” and was operated by the Y & W management company. The theatre then showcased “Funny Girl” in 70mm. It was designed with a Rustic image. It was part of a strip shopping center anchored by an Ayr-Way department store (a local Indianapolis chain once owned by the L.S. Ayres department store-hence the Ayr in the name).

The theatre 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 theatre 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 theatre thrived on the releases of the other “Star Wars” movies, but it, too, floundered to the times and was unable to expand to keep up with other locations.

The Eastwood Theatre was gutted and is now part of Menards.

Contributed by moviemad4life

Recent comments (view all 43 comments)

Coate on March 18, 2014 at 10:53 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 on March 19, 2014 at 3:18 am

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 on March 19, 2014 at 1:51 pm

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 on March 25, 2014 at 12:38 am

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!

meanmachine88 on March 10, 2015 at 8:16 am

Yes, it was a concert venue in the 90’s. I saw Beck and Green Day there. Similar in size to what the Emerson Theater is now. Perhaps a little bit smaller.

Coate on April 12, 2015 at 11:52 am

Does anyone know what the “Y” and the “W” stood for in Y&W Management (the company that operated the Eastwood)?

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on April 12, 2015 at 12:17 pm

Y & W Management Corp. were based in Indianapolis, IN. R.R. Young was the Secretary-Treasurer and Marc J. Wolf was the President & General Manager.

rivest266 on October 31, 2015 at 3:17 pm

September 11th, 1968 grand opening ad in photo section.

Eastwood on December 20, 2015 at 2:54 am

12/19/2015 I’ve been digging up everything I can find on the Eastwood, most recently this STAR WARS first birthday pic. There is still quite a bit of mis-information in some of these posts, but the memories of the best theatre in Indianapolis will never be lost! Enjoy! Ron R. Keedy, Manager and Owner

randalljcb on July 24, 2016 at 3:02 pm

I remember seeing Star Wars for the first time in late September of 1977 at Eastwood Theater. We had moved to the Westside of Indy from Tupelo Mississippi. It was back to being exclusive to Eastwood, and mom was not happy about trekking across town for a movie. After that, it became a phenomenon in Indy, as each week the ad in paper would state how many weeks the film had been there. I remember checking the paper each week and seeing “48th Smash Week, 49th Smash week”. It was a fun thing as a kid to do. And then the news that night in June did a story that it was over and after 55 weeks the run was done.

In May of 1980, I was there for opening day of Empire. Anyone remember that? I made it in for the first showing, and the first 20 minutes or so of the dialogue track was garbled, and people were getting mad. Finally, they fixed it and the show went on.

I remember the late 80’s when it became the Old Trail Theater and for some reason I think I saw them showing Harry and the Hendersons there. It was a great old theater.

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