Comments from mitchriv

Showing 1 comment

mitchriv commented about Philmore on Broadway on Oct 7, 2009 at 6:18 pm

Here is a little bit of history concerning the theater formally called the Cinema Blue, located in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The information is mainly a compilation of old newspaper articles from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette and the Fort Wayne News Sentinel.

The Cinema Blue originally began as the Broadway Theater which opened on November 5, 1923. The newly built Broadway Theater was to develop a reputation for showing the best silent movies in a pleasing atmosphere. The building had a stage, an auditorium that had an arched ceiling which provided better ventilation and acoustic properties, contained an orchestra pit and three sets of balconies, it could seat 600 people, the ladies’ room provided space for parking baby buggies, and the screen was made of the best gold fiber. The film featured at the Grand Opening of the Broadway Theater was Back Home and Broke starring Thomas Meighan, a poplar leading actor of the time. Everyone attending on opening day was given a rose (New Broadway Theater).

In 1934 the Broadway was sold and renamed the Indiana Theater. According to an article from the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette its most prosperous years came immediately after World War II. Between March of 1941 and May of 1956, the Indiana Theater offered the “Take a Chance Night”. The name of the picture wasn’t advertised, but admission was 10 cents for everyone. Business boomed on those nights. On November 9, 1969 the Indiana Theater closed. Since its opening in 1923, the theater had shown family movies exclusively. The last family picture shown at the Indiana was The Hellfighters starring John Wayne (Pond).

On December 19, 1969, the theater reopened under the name of ‘Theater A.’ In a Journal Gazette newspaper article of the time, the new owner noted that his establishment will avoid what he termed “hard-core pornography,” but will probably show several European award-winning films (Pond).

By the 1970’s the theater again changed names. It became the Cinema Blue. The theater now showed pornographic movies. It was closed in 1985 after reaching a plea agreement with the prosecutors.

After the theater’s vacancy, several attempts were made to make use of the building. However, these attempts were unsuccessful and the theater was left to deteriorate. In 1997, several Fort Wayne area businessmen financed the theater’s restoration and renovation. Much of the original Broadway Theater interior was restored including the stage, three balconies and orchestra pit. The theater had now become an upscale restaurant named the Catablu Gourmet American Grille.

The Catablu Gourmet American Grille restaurant moved out of the building on May 29, 2009. Happily, the Old Broadway Theater now lives on as jazz club and an event center called “The Philmore on Broadway.”

Works Cited
“New Broadway Theater.” The News-Sentinel 3 November 1923.
Pond, Cindy. “Indiana Theater Closes Nov. 9.” Journal Gazetter 27 October 1969.