Rivoli Theatre

3155 E. 10th Street,
Indianapolis, IN 46201

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Related Websites

The Haunted Rivoli Theatre

Additional Info

Previously operated by: Universal Chain Theatrical Enterprises Inc.

Architects: Henry Ziegler Dietz

Styles: Mission Revival

Nearby Theaters

Rivoli Interior ~1970's

Built in 1927 under the auspices of Carl Laemmle Jr. of Universal Pictures Corporation and its movie theatre division, Universal Chain Theatrical Enterprises Inc., and designed in Spanish Mission Revival style by architect and firm Henry Ziegler Dietz, the Rivoli Theatre was a modest 1,500-seat cinema venue on Indianapolis' east side. It opened September 15, 1927 with Glenn Tryon in “Painting the Town”. It was equipped with a Robert-Morton 2 manual organ.

Universal sold out their interest in the theatre in 1937, and the theatre changed hands several times. It was closed January 1, 1975 with Walt Disney’s “Fantasia”. It reopened under new management and briefly screened regular movies before turning to adult movies, until eventually the theatre closed again.

The Rivoli Theatre still boasts the largest theatre stage in all Indianapolis. It was also host to live music concerts in the 1970’s and 1980’s, and closed down in 1992, having been dormant for ten years.

The theatre has been reputed to be haunted for many years.

The present owner has plans to restore and reopen the theatre and is working with local preservationists to preserve and protect it.

Contributed by Donald John Long

Recent comments (view all 16 comments)

galoux on March 18, 2009 at 6:10 am

Thanks for the article, Lost Memory. I do hope they can do something with the place. In this economy, it’s more daunting than ever, but there’s always hope.

So sad that the interior was allowed to be so wrecked by the hole in the roof. I know lots of people find that unfathomable, but I once rented a house from a woman who let a big dead tree fall on the house and punch a hole in the roof. It went unrepaired for months!


galoux on March 18, 2009 at 6:18 am

Oops. I meant thanks to Ken Mc. for the article, and thanks to Lost Memory for the recent pic.

RubyTrio on June 11, 2009 at 1:50 pm

Back in the early 1970s, I went to the Rivoli for the first time. They were showing the 1927 silent film “Wings.” It was awesome because it had a live organ accompaniment. I am sad to see the state that it is now in; on the plus side, at least it is not demolished.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 1, 2009 at 12:50 am

The manager who brought the film revival policy to the Rivoli in the 1970s was Thomas H. Ferree. Boxoffice Magazine of September 25, 1972, quoted excerpts from a recent Indianapolis News item about the Rivoli written by columnist David Mannweiler.

Ferree inaugurated the Rivoli’s classic film policy with Chaplin’s “City Lights,” which was to be followed by Olivier’s “Hamlet” and then a program of Busby Berkeley’s “Gold Diggers of 1935” and “Footlight Parade.”

Ferree also announced his intention to book some of the less commercially viable foreign films into the Rivoli, such fare having been unavailable in Indianapolis since the closing of the Esquire Theatre in 1969.

mpd732 on January 26, 2013 at 3:53 pm

Chuck1231 your uploading my photographs from Flickr illegally. Please read>>>COPYRIGHT NOTICE: All photographs, text and html coding appearing in this/my Flickr site are protected under United States and international copyright laws. No images are within Public Domain. Use of any image as the basis for another photographic concept or illustration is a violation of copyright. Please do NOT steal my photos, scans or anything in my photostream for your little blogs or websites, Pinterest or Tumblr, Facebook or any other “social media”., or use them for any commercial or non-commercial, for or non-profit uses and please, don’t link to them AT ALL ANYWHERE. ALL photos here are NOT available for purchase. No, you may NOT use them for free, so please don’t waste your/my time asking. (That includes the “but we’ll give you a photo credit” crowd.)

echo on June 24, 2013 at 2:47 pm

I saw the UK band “The Cult” perform there in Spring of 1985.

I heard that it also served as a pornographic theatre.

rivest266 on October 25, 2015 at 10:06 am

September 25th, 1927 grand opening ad in photo section.

DavidZornig on November 9, 2015 at 6:28 pm

I added the 1930 file photo courtesy of Indy Star. In case the March 2009 link goes dead.

wschende on February 20, 2019 at 7:29 pm

From WISH TV Channel 8 in Indianapolis

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded a $4.3 million grant to the East 10th Street District to transform vacant buildings in the neighborhood include a 1920s movie theater.

The endowment also should create community spaces for artists and put art along the busy stretch of road.

The redevelopment projects will include the old Rivoli Theatre, built by Universal Studios of Indianapolis in 1927. A website for the theater says it was the first in Indiana to show movies with sound. Later, the showplace at 3155 E. 10th St. hosted concerts for John Mellencamp and Lynard Skynard. That project is scheduled to be complete in 2025.

In addition, the grant should help the neighborhood foster partnerships and increase visitors.

Residents think the changes will improve safety as well.

“It can reduce crime by taking these principles to heart. We can reduce it. We can improve the residences and commercial properties and reduce crime,” resident Chris Staab said.

DavidZornig on August 21, 2020 at 7:56 am

2013 Historic Indianapolis article about the Rivoli with images.


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