Kennedy Theatre

6735 Kennedy Avenue,
Hammond, IN 46323

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Previous Names: Hess Theatre, Ace Theatre

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Kennedy Theatre

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.

Contributed by John

Recent comments (view all 13 comments)

margmom30 on March 20, 2005 at 7:00 pm

My children and I have attended many movies at the Kennedy Theatre over the last few years. I have been very pleased that there have been so many family friendly shows. We have seen Shrek 2, Spiderman 2, Harry Potter 2 and 3, Shark Tale, The Incredibles, Robots, Home on the Range and many others. We all enjoy the outing and I like that it doesnt kill my finances. My kids can buy their concessions with their allowance and still have money left. Since we have started to attend Kennedy we have not gone to any other establishment. I enjoy being able to attend a family run business that cares about their customers. The building itself is looking very nice, the seats are comfortable, and the floors are clean. Thank you to the families who own and run the theatre.

kencmcintyre on May 15, 2009 at 8:27 pm

There is a photo of the Kennedy on this page, close to the bottom.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 14, 2010 at 6:20 pm

Kennedy Theatre.Wow,They must have really loved President Kennedy.Don’t think it would fly today with the country split like it is.“BUSH I and II theatres”? “OBAMA CINEMAS” ? .nope ,not today.

RichardCWolfe on September 14, 2010 at 8:14 pm

They could try to keep everyone happy. Since it’s a twin, maybe they should rename it the PRESIDENT, then call the left auditorium the OBAMA and the right one the BUSH.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 15, 2010 at 4:35 pm

Great! Rick. Love it.

Trolleyguy on April 12, 2016 at 12:27 pm

Status should be closed. Unable to go digital.

rivest266 on July 23, 2017 at 6:53 pm

This opened as the Hess Theatre in September 1937. No grand opening ad was bought for this theatre.

rivest266 on July 24, 2017 at 1:26 pm

Reopened as Kennedy on May 10th, 1963. Grand opening ad in the photo section.

DavidZornig on March 22, 2020 at 6:57 pm

This was named the Ace Theatre in the mid `50s, which should be added to previous names. Circa 1956 photo added as Ace Theatre courtesy Michael Goodson‎.

rivest266 on March 31, 2022 at 12:27 pm

Reopened as Ace on December 24th, 1939. another ad posted.

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