Eastwood Theatre

6800 Pendleton Pike,
Indianapolis, IN 46226

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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!

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

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.

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.

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!

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.

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 2:19 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 2:09 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.

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.

radioguy
radioguy on December 15, 2013 at 5:42 pm

Anyone remember the sci-fi music montage the Eastwood played before every showing of Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi?

I produced that for Ron Keedy the day before the first showing of “Empire”. He had called just about every radio station in Indy for help in producing it… and they all turned him down. Then he called WEDM (Warren Central’s radio station). I was the station manager/instructor… and a Sci-Fi buff… and of course I had all of the songs he wanted to use.

With the help of a student we finished the production the same day. When we presented Ron with the tape… he invited us to comeback later that evening to attend the employees sneak preview.

What a night… and many more to follow. I never had to pay to watch either film… no matter how many time I watched it… or how many guests I brought with me.

If memory serves me… Ron was the manager for “Empire” and owned the theater for “Return”.

bd57chevy
bd57chevy on March 13, 2013 at 5:10 am

@davebindy – even before ayr-way, the store was Topps.
@Miyeko – That hotel that had the round dining area was a Holiday Inn. @Martyj – Marty Carr managed the Eastwood Theater at least 81 – 83. Annie was a big movie at the time for Eastwood. Daddy Warbucks even flew in via helicopter, landing in the parking lot. Also red icecream was served that day. Marty Carr also introduced concerts to the theater after the Dolby System was installed and the Starwars days had passed. First it was AC/DC’s movie “Let There Be Rock!” It rocked! I think the first physical concert was performed by a group called Moviola. They rocked at the time as well. A song they performed was “She loves the Radio”. Ah… good times.

Miyeko
Miyeko on December 18, 2012 at 7:35 pm

Sorry, davebindy , but your comments aren’t quite accurate. The strip mall where the Target was located was definitely torn down and replaced with a new building. You can see this by looking at the current satellite view of the area on Google Maps. One part of the strip mall is still there, by the way, just not where the Menards actually is.

The Eastwood Theater was located on an outlot, as you say, but it was on the west side of the area, where Menards now appears to have some kind of warehouse. You could get to the theater by driving on what is now marked as N Elizabeth St. I remember my sister always drove that “back way” to get there.

There used to be a hotel at the corner of Shadeland and Pendleton Pike, which was basically next to those apartments, and you might have been thinking of that as the location of the Eastwood. The hotel was finally torn down in the 2000s, I believe.

davebindy
davebindy on July 20, 2012 at 5:38 am

Just for historical accuracy – the theater wasn’t torn down and replaced with a Menards. The shopping center was originally an Ayr-Way, then changed to a Target ca. 1980 when they bought the local chain. When Target closed the store it became a Menard’s. All of them used the existing building, so nothing was “demolished” for the Menard’s. As I recall, the Eastwood was on an outlot (on the northeast side by the extant apartments, I think), not in the main shopping center building itself.

Coate
Coate on February 20, 2010 at 12:41 pm

<<< I worked at the Eastwood when Star Wars opened in May 1977. The first public screen[ing] was the standard 12:45 show on a Friday afternoon. >>>

The first showtime is correct (based on how it was promoted in the local paper) but the day of the week isn’t. It opened on a Wednesday.

Martyj
Martyj on April 11, 2009 at 10:35 am

I worked at the Eastwood when Star Wars opened in May 1977. Just to add my memory to verify a few things brought up here already. There was an invitation only VIP screening 1 or 2 nights before the opening. I brought my family and a few friends. Seeing Star Wars before it’s official opening is a fact one of my guests (I was a high school senior at the time) still boasts about today. The first public screen was the standard 12:45 show on a Friday afternoon. When I showed up the typical 30 minutes early to start popping corn, there was already a line of 100 people waiting at the box office—something our concession stand wasn’t prepared for. That first weekend was an under-staffed madhouse. The concession would run out of ice every few hours, and I’d have to haul a huge cooler to the nearby Dairy Queen to bum a supply of ice to get us through the next wave of customers.

If memory serves correct, the midnight screenings began a few weeks later after it became obvious the huge crowds that were routinely turned away after the last show sold out could justify adding a 6th screening to the daily schedule. Considering Star Wars opened the last week in May, it’s likely Ronnie Clark saw his midnight show in June at the earliest. I believe the midnight screenings were only weekends, but I could be wrong about that.

I have zero memory of Marty Carr or Dave Battas; they must have been upper-management with C & W. As I lower-level employee, my only dealings were with the on-site manager, Ron Keedy, who later went on the run several repertory theatres in Indianapolis.

RMike
RMike on February 5, 2009 at 5:59 am

Wasn’t this theatre a concert venue briefly in the 1990s?
I’m pretty sure I saw Hole, The Cramps, and Urge Overkill there.

dbattas
dbattas on December 29, 2008 at 10:27 pm

I stand corrected. The original contract was negotiated for 12 weeks exclusive but after the huge openings everywhere the pressure was on Fox to broaden the run, which they did. I originally agreed to put up $50,000 to Fox for the run; however, Fox bid the run in Louisville and they only got $40,000. They then came back and changed my deal to $40,000. The picture was a gamble because the deal was made more than six months prior to opening and all we really knew was it was being made in England, on a closed set, with no big name stars, directed by a fairly new guy named George Lucas. Fox wanted the Eastwood because of its 800 seats, projection, and reputation as a good theatre. There were other considerations, too. It wasn’t trade screened until just before the actual opening and … . I felt a whole lot better. It grossed about $50,000 a weekfor the first few weeks, which was capacity on most shows.

Coate
Coate on December 28, 2008 at 9:39 am

The EASTWOOD’s run of “Star Wars” ended up being an Indianapolis exclusive for eight weeks, not twelve. On July 22, 1977 (week nine), two more bookings of “Star Wars” were added to the Indianapolis market (REGENCY 1 & 2 and LAFAYETTE SQUARE II-III-IV).

The EASTWOOD’s run of “Star Wars,” by the way, went on for 55 weeks, which I believe was the longest run in the theater’s history.

dbattas
dbattas on December 27, 2008 at 9:47 pm

The Eastwood Theatre opened Sept 11, 1968 with Prudence and the Pill" which was a short run picture till Funny Girl" opened in Oct and ran 9 months. For “Star Wars” we purchased the first Dolby unit in Indiana, I think it was a CP50, and we had an exclusive run in Indy for the first 12 weeks. We had 35-70 projectors (made in Italy), 4-track magnetic and 6-track magnetic sound, with 5 large Altec speakers behind the screen. For “Tommy” which was 35mm with 4-track stereo, we took two speakers from behind the screen and mounted them in the rear corners of the auditorium, then tied them to the surround speakers. It was pretty impressive. In the ads, just for fun, we called it “Eastaphonic Stereo”.

moviemad
moviemad on January 23, 2008 at 6:16 pm

The Eastwood Theatre, operated by Y & W, was the direct competitor that ultimately put the Arlington Theatre out of the first run business.

croghand
croghand on July 12, 2006 at 2:32 am

torn down replace with a menards home center

Coate
Coate on March 18, 2006 at 4:27 pm

Joker1,
You’re right, you never said the midnight show in question was on opening day…but that is what you meant! And I resent being called a “know it all.” In this scenario, as with most of my Cinema Treasures posts, I’m just a “messenger.”

So tell me, if there was a midnight screening of “Star Wars” at the Eastwood, how would the good citizens of the Indianapolis area have known about it considering such a screening was not promoted in the local newspaper?

RonnieLClarkJnr
RonnieLClarkJnr on March 18, 2006 at 1:32 am

good grief, there’s a know it all in every crowd. Marty carr was the first owner to get approval for a 12:01 showing of star wars, abd I can assure you that it happened because I was there. He also had star wars T-shirts printed up, which his children wore when they were little as “playshirts”! I still have my Star Wars promotional book (the 20th century, long rectangular one) which they sold at the concession stand. Plus, I never said it was opening day.

Coate
Coate on March 17, 2006 at 4:16 pm

“I saw Star Wars there at 12:01 in May of 1977.”

I think that is doubtful considering the Eastwood’s opening day showtimes were 12:45, 3:00, 5:15, 7:30 & 9:45.