Blog post by Randi Richardson
In an effort to determine when the Roxy Theatre closed in Bloomington at 221 N. College, every issue of the Bloomington (IN) Daily Herald Telephone was reviewed starting on January 1, 1955. This date was chosen because there was no listing for the Roxy in the 1956 telephone directory or city directory which suggested its closure sometime in 1955.
The review determined that a Roxy ad was included in the newspaper every day of its issue from January 1, 1955, until April 31, 1956, when a very small ad announced that the theatre would be closing on Sunday for redecorating. A continued review of theatre ads through May 31, 1956, did not reveal any additional ads for the Roxy which suggests that it did not reopen.
During the course of this research project, several Bloomington residents told of attending movies at the Roxy in the early 1950s where double features could be seen for a quarter. The condition of the theatre at that time was a venue in need of serious updates.
According to research compiled by Penelope Mathiesen and published in the Monroe County Historian in the June/July 2019 issue, the Roxy opened in January 1933 under the ownership of Percy W. Gladden. Census records indicate that Percy, a native New Yorker, lived with his wife, Mattie, Mattie’s son, Doyle, by a previous marriage and Doyle’s wife in Worthington, Greene County, Indiana, in 1930, and the two men were “dealers” in “cars.”
Percy reportedly moved to Bloomington about 1933 and opened the Roxy Theatre that same year in an existing structure. (A government survey indicates the building was constructed in 1922 and demolished in 1956.) Doyle managed the theatre until Percy was forced into retirement by health problems in 1939 at which time Doyle became the new owner and continued in that capacity until he sold the property in 1951.
Bloomington (IN) Daily Herald Telephone, April 31, 1956, p. 14.
Penelope Mathiesen, “Remembering the Roxy Theatre,” Monroe County Historian, June/July 2019.
Doyle Carter WWII DraftRegistration, www.fold3.com/image/652781863. This is a subscription website.