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For most people living in Marion during the 1930’s, downtown Marion was the place to be on a typical Saturday night. Since the entire country was experiencing a severe depression, Marion residents needed a way to get their minds off of hard times and enjoy the many activities that downtown Marion provided. In downtown, Marion’s theaters helped a great deal with driving away the depressing emotions of hard times and encouraged residents to prevail and try to make the best of their situation. During the 1930’s there were four theaters that entertained the people of Marion, the Paramount Theater, Lyric Theater, LunaLite Theater, and the Indiana Theater (Bunish).

The day after the opening of the Paramount Theater in Marion, Robert P. Kiley, the second owner of the Heinzmann-Smith house, hosted a banquet for the Theater’s building owners on behalf of the city of Marion. The Paramount Theater was located at 214 S. Washington. One July 30, 1929, the Paramount Theater opened its doors to 5,000 people awaiting a new comedy, The Coconuts. Marion’s Paramount Theater was one of 1,500 motion picture houses operated by the Publix Theaters. The Theater provided moviegoers with the choice of both Movietone and Vitaphone motion pictures, the latest projection equipment during the time. The Theater also contained an air conditioner that kept movie-goers comfortable during the summer months. (Paramount Theater’s cool opening gets warm reception here in 1929). The Theater closed its doors March 7, 1965 (Way Back When).

The Lyric Theater was located at 118 W. Fourth Street. It stood were the Fidelity Federal Savings and Loan office is today. Across the street was the LunaLite Theater. It was located about where the entrance to the American Bank and Trust Co. drive-in exits from Fourth Street today. It was torn down in 1952 (Way Back When).

Indiana Theater was built in 1901. It was built as the original opera- house but in the early 1930’s it started showing motion pictures instead of road-shows. In 1933 the theater reopened despite the risk of opening a theater during the depression. Opening the Theater was a mark of confidence for community by the Theater’s manager, Billy Connors. Theaters that survived throughout the depression in Marion made it a little easier for the residents of Marion to bear the rough times that many faced due to the depression.

Works Cited

  • Bunish, Steve. The Golden Age of Marion. Editor: Stephanie Bunish Fuller: 3.
  • Munn, Bill. “Paramount Theater’s cool opening gets warm reception her in 1929.” Marion Chronicle-Tribune 9 Sept. 2000.
  • “Way Back When.” Chronicle-Tribune Magazine 9 June 1985:10.


This article was written by Katerina Fischer as part of an article on the Heinzmann-Smith House. It should eventually be expanded into separate articles.