6735 Kennedy Avenue,
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The Hess Theatre was opened in September 1937. On May 10, 1963 it was renamed Kennedy Theatre, named after the President. A picture of the President adorned the wall opposite the box office and candy counter. It was known (and still is) as the rocking chair theatre and could seat around 600. In the mid-1950’s it was renamed Ace Theatre. In the late-1960’s and early-1970’s the Kennedy Theatre was best known for showing second run double features.
Everything changed for the theatre in December of 1975 when “Jaws” opened and enjoyed a six month run. From then on the Kennedy Theatre became a first run theatre showing films either exclusive to Northwest Indiana “Midway”, “One on One”, and “Gray Lady Down” come to mind) or sharing a booking with one of the General Cinemas in the area. The theatre fell on hard times in the late-1980’s into the 1990’s so much so that the theatre could no longer afford to place advertisements in one of two major newspapers in the area.
In 1996 the theatre was closed and remodeled into a twin by cutting the theatre in half. The seating in each auditorium was now about 200 each. Apparently this failed and the theatre closed in 2001.
In early-2002 two families purchased the Kennedy Theatre and reopened it. The brick wall with the portrait of the President was removed and mirrors were added. The original seats remain and are badly in need of being replaced as many are broken or just plain uncomfortable. A skybox with around 10 seats were added upstairs for one theatre. If you purchase a ticket (at a higher price) to the skybox you get all the popcorn and soda you want for free and it is delivered to you.
Happily, the theatre was able to secure some first run films and appeared to be doing well. Sadly, it could not afford the switch to digital projection and was closed around 2015.
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