20 W. Ridge Road,
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Glen Theater (Official)
Previously operated by: Y. & W. Management Corp.
Previous Names: Ridge Theater
The Ridge Theater sat just off the corner of Broadway Avenue on W. Ridge Road in Gary, IN. It opened in late-1941. It was renovated in 1968, reopening as the Glen Theatre with Disney’s “The Happiest Millionaire” starring Tommy Steele. The theater was an instant success playing first run and revival films. Some weekends they would have kid shows in the mornings and action films for midnight shows. The Glen Theater most often played the first run Walt Disney films of the 1970’s. I can remember going to see “Sword in the Stone”, “The Apple Dumpling Gang”, “Herbie Rides Again”, and “One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing”.
Sometimes they would play first run action films that would show up at the area drive-ins. I can remember seeing “Race with the Devil” there. The Glen’s biggest attraction came relatively early in its life when they showed “Airport” for 10 weeks. In the mid-1970’s the Glen Theater started experimenting with X-rated films and by 1977 had gone to porno altogether. The theater closed in 1981 amid gang activity and violence in the area.
In 1983 a Bible group reopened the Glen Theater to show religious films such as “Ben-Hur” and “The Ten Commandments”. That failed miserably and the doors closed for good just a month later. The marquee said, ‘Reopening Soon’ and stayed that way for almost twenty years.
The last time I drove by the marquee was blank and a big sign on the boarded-up door said the building was going to be renovated for a public theater sight for the future. The Glen Theater re-opened October 13, 2007 with a concert by Soul singer Deniece Williams. It will be a live performance theatre catering mainly the African-American population. It had closed by March 2016. By November 2017 it was hosting special events, a film festival and live theater by a community group.
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