Arlington Theatre

1025 N. Arlington Avenue,
Indianapolis, IN 46219

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Additional Info

Firms: F & Y Building Service

Functions: Retail

Styles: Streamline Moderne

Nearby Theaters

Arlington Theatre auditorium

This 1949 Art Moderne style theater was opened by a independent operator in the Eastside neighborhood of Indianapolis. The opening night program on October 6, 1949 was “You’re My Everything” starring Dan Dailey. All seating was on a single floor.

In 1953, the theater was renovated with an extension out the back of theater for the installation of the Cinemascope screen and the sound upgrade to four-track magnetic. The theater became a showcase for Walt Disney movies until the early Seventies when another theater began outbidding the Arlington for the Disney movies.

Struggling, the owner leased out his concession stand to a nationally known food service company. Borrowing funds to keep the theater alive, the owner eventually gave up the theater to the concession company. The concession company ran the theater itself for a number of years before leasing to an independent operator 1982. The independent operated tried discount and sub run films. With the backing of the concession company, a bid was made for “The Empire Strikes Back”, the operator was hoping to salvage the theater.

When the operator lost the bid, and having found revelations that a possible violation of state blind bidding laws may have been violated, the operator filed suit against the film’s distributor. The suit was settled and the operator gave up, closing the theater in 1983. The theater never reopened and became an Ace hardware store.

Contributed by Titusquire

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

moviemad on January 23, 2008 at 11:39 pm

I should point out that the current owner of FOX was not the owner at the time of the original release of JEDI.

cinema5plus3 on April 25, 2008 at 11:02 am

Arlington was first a 1949 dump. The independent operator should have had to money to bid. Possible violation of state blind bidding laws may have been violated, um if not getting this one movie caused them to close then they should have not took it over. YOU BID FOR MOVIES AND WHY WOULD FOX WANT A DUMP TO SHOW THEIR FILM IN.

jk1966 on January 9, 2009 at 8:00 pm

My name is Jeff and I just came across a whole bunch of info on the Arlington theatre at a local Dallas, Texas estate. 75 negatives, 30 black and white photos, blue prints and letterhead and other papers concerning the planning, construction, and opening night of this incredible theatre. If anyone is interested in these items, please coantact me at

Wulfe51 on March 17, 2009 at 10:19 pm

Galoux, your post is very old, but we almost certainly were at the Arlington watching the same Saturday afternoon movies. I’ll add Mothra, Zotz, Three Stooges Meet Hercules, Rear Window, Journey to the Center of the Earth, and Giant to the list, to name just a few.

God I loved that place.

galoux on March 18, 2009 at 8:58 am

I loved it too! We probably were there at the same time, indeed. I’m pretty sure I was there for Journey to the Center of the Earth. Mothra is also a likely bet. (Dang, I was crazy about big ol' rubber-beast-suit movies.)

I wonder if anyone has contacted Jeff, in the post above yours, Rib 51. Sounds fascinating! Perhaps he can post some items to the site. Shall you contact him or shall I? :–)


moviemad on May 8, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Cinema5, Theatre Confections provided me with the advance money to bid on JEDI. The plan was to install 70mm projection (that was part of the bid offer) and replace the carpet.

DavidAE on August 12, 2014 at 7:33 am

Historic Indianapolis has an article on the theater.

Jedi on November 11, 2015 at 3:06 pm

Moviemad, I have an incredibly vivid memory of seeing Return of the Jedi at The Arlington. I really can’t believe I’m mistaken. Especially since I live in the neighborhood.

MovieMad52 on November 11, 2015 at 3:31 pm

No it didn’t. It opened at the Eastwood, Glendale 3 and 2 other locations west and south of town.

BobHollberg on March 29, 2016 at 3:41 pm

According to, which includes the Indianapolis Star, Return of the Jedi opened on May 25, 1983 at the Glendale, Lafayette Square, Greenwood, and Eastwood theaters. When it went into second run, it did play at the Arlington in December 1983 and January 1984.

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