Ohio Theatre

105 E. Main Street,
Madison, IN 47250

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DavidZornig on April 8, 2019 at 1:07 am

TCM ran “Some Came Running” tonight, and a post film piece on the filming in Madison. After a guided tour of the town’s buildings in their respective scenes, it concludes at the Ohio Theatre. It appeared to be from the `90s or maybe a little later.

FOTOT on May 15, 2017 at 7:14 am

Please change the status of this theatre to open. The theatre was aquired by the non-profit, Friends of the Ohio Theatre, Inc. Here is the press release from 3/2/16: “The Ohio Theatre has been acquired by Friends of The Ohio Theatre, a group of enthusiastic local volunteers dedicated to preserving and restoring Madison’s cinematic heritage. The Friends of The Ohio Theatre have applied for non-profit status and are awaiting approval.

According to Board President Elizabeth Auxier, the theatre will close for a few weeks to allow for assessment of the building, as well as cleaning of the interior. “We hope to be able to re-open for two to three months to raise enough money to sustain the building and pay monthly utilities and expenses. After that, we will close for a major fundraising campaign to completely renovate The Ohio Theatre.”

She joked, “Of course, if people want to donate a bunch of money to us right now, we can begin renovations, immediately.”

Board Member Elijah Chandler is very excited about the acquisition. “Like so many of my friends and colleagues in the community, I grew up in The Ohio Theater. I’ve seen hundreds of films in the main auditorium throughout my life and The Ohio has been there for some major milestones. I took my first date there, saw a 3D movie for the first time there and, most importantly, it’s where I saw Star Wars on the big screen for the first time. I want to make sure that my daughter and her friends get to have the same experiences.”

Blythe Couch, another board member, also looks forward to this project. “I am so happy to be a part of Friends of The Ohio Theater. As a lifelong Madisonian, I love everything that downtown has to offer, and spend a lot of time enjoying the riverfront, restaurants and shops in this beautiful area. Some of my best and earliest memories of going to the theatre were at The Ohio. I am thrilled to be involved with this new adventure and can’t wait to see what amazing things the future holds for this historic landmark.”

Significant details pertaining to the renovation are not available at this time because the organization needs to conduct a feasibility study and restoration plan. Vice-President Charles Requet said, “We will know more about the future once we obtain the plans and have defined strategies to ensure success.”

Additional information will be shared with the community as it becomes available. Learn more during the coming weeks and months by liking the Friends of The Ohio Theatre Facebook page."

The Facebook page name has been changed to Ohio Theatre.

Thanks in advance.

Trolleyguy on April 13, 2016 at 4:49 am

Status should be closed. I contacted the owners and was informed that it had been shut down.

JackCoursey on May 25, 2015 at 11:09 pm

A rare jewel nestled in the rural countryside of Indiana and well worth the journey to visit. Although it well supported by the local community, a tidy sum is currently needed to insure that it remains operational. Donations can be made at the Ohio Theater website.

wmadavis on March 7, 2011 at 9:00 am

“Some Came Running” was filmed in Madison, and it is still shown occasionally at the Ohio. It is a unique experience to see a movie in a theater that appears in the movie you are watching. There are shots of the marquee in the movie. A building next to the theater and one across the street from the theater were utilized for some particular scenes. The interior of the theater has not changed much in at least 40 years. In the 70’s the balcony was enclosed and made into a small second screen. The seats up there are pretty bad and the movies look like they are being projected through a dirty coke bottle. Both screens are a bit stained. The bathrooms are in the basement and there’s a long flight of stairs to the balcony, so if you have to go, it’ll be a long trip. No elevator. Not a friendly place for the elderly in that regard. Also very dark. The past few years when they run “classic” films, what they actually run are DVDs video-projected on the screen, which are very murky-looking. But you can’t beat the atmosphere. Coming out of the theater into downtown Madison, you feel like stepped back into the past. They currently show movies that have been out for a while for $5.00 with a special for $2.00 on Tuesdays, as well as special events.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 25, 2010 at 9:32 am

MfM: Most sources I’ve seen say the Little Grand was destroyed in a fire in either 1936 or 1937 (one source said the fire was in 1928, but I think that’s most likely an error.) Had the organ been in the Little Grand at the time of the fire, it would of course have been destroyed along with the theater.

When the Grand Theatre was renamed the Madison Theatre around 1940, it was probably modernized as well, and that would seem a likely time for the organ to have been removed. That fits well with your time line. I’d say the Grand/Madison was most likely the theater your Kilgen originally occupied.

musicformovies on September 24, 2010 at 5:45 pm

FYI – the original installation date of the organ was 1928.

musicformovies on September 24, 2010 at 5:43 pm

Joe Vogel: Thank you for the information. I own the original theatre pipe organ that was installed in a “Grand Theatre” in Madison, IN. It was originally a Kilgen 2/4 Op. 4163.

With this new information though I’m not sure if it was installed in the “Grand,” or the “Little Grand.” (I know by 1940s it had been removed and installed in a local high school with an additional rank).

Do we have any interior photos of either theater? (i.e. the Pit)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 21, 2010 at 9:55 am

Here’s an item from The Moving Picture World of August 17, 1915:

“The Little Grand, Madison, Ind., has the white brick front about completed.”
In the first two of the photos Wallyum linked to above, white brick can be seen on the Ohio’s facade where some of the modern siding is missing. Face brick of that sort was no longer popular when the theater was rebuilt in 1938, so it is probably the original brick of 1915. The part of the side wall seen in the first photo is obviously pretty old, and is probably a common wall shared with the building next door. There’s probably a common wall on the other side as well. The auditorium can be seen in satellite photos to be wider than the entrance building.

The question is, was the Little Grand’s auditorium on the same footprint as the Ohio’s? If it was, chances are that the Ohio was built entirely inside the shell of the Little Grand after the fire. From what I’ve read here and at other web sites I’ve had the impression that the Ohio was entirely new construction, but it would have been very odd for that white brick facade to have been used on a building erected in 1938, so most likely the front survives from the Little Grand.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 20, 2010 at 4:58 pm

MusicForMovies: I’ve found that the Grand Theatre and the Little Grand Theatre were different houses. The Grand was originally called the Grand Opera House and had opened in the 19th century. It was later renamed the Grand Theatre (possibly around 1928), and finally became the Madison Theatre, probably in 1940. It was demolished in 1960. Here is its Cinema Treasures page.

musicformovies on January 30, 2010 at 2:12 am

I apologize, I meant information on a theater called the ‘Grand Theatre’ in Madison, Indiana.

musicformovies on January 30, 2010 at 2:09 am

Hi, I’m looking for information called the ‘Grand Theatre’ in Madison, Ohio.

This movie theater was active in 1928-29 for sure.

If anybody has any information on this theater please let me know. Would this theater be the same theater as the “Little Grand” per chance? Thanks.

Bill Huelbig
Bill Huelbig on December 1, 2008 at 3:05 pm

I saw this theater on Turner Classic Movies yesterday. MGM’s “Some Came Running” with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and Shirley MacLaine was filmed in this town in 1958, and the theater held a re-premiere of the movie a few years ago. TCM showed a short subject about it.

kencmcintyre on May 20, 2006 at 6:41 pm

Here is an article about the Ohio:

tomdelay on February 12, 2006 at 2:45 am

Is it absolutely certain that the Grand Theatre was on the same site as the present Ohio Theatre? My understanding was that the Grand Theatre stood on the east side a side street about 4 lots north of Main Street. I was told the driveway that services the Elks Lodge was where the Grand stood before it burned. The Grand Theatre contained a 2 manual 4 rank Kilgen Theatre Pipe Organ.

I recall being in the Ohio when it was still a single screen theatre
back about 1961. It was a very nice theatre. I have not been in the Ohio since the multiple screen format was started.