Rivoli Marquee

Rivoli Marquee

The Rivoli Theater was opened in April 1927 at the corner of Adams and Mulberry St., and was a lavish, popular venue. The theater was equipped for both movie showings and theater performances, and was marketed upon opening as completely fireproof, with an asbestos curtain and few wood elements. It featured Spanish style architecture inside, with red draped curtains, orange, blue, green, and gold accents, and 2000 red leather seats with tapestry backs.

The Rivoli Theater building, which featured other shops as well, such as a flower shop and a Downyflake Donut shop, cost $400,000 to construct. The theater had a $25,000 Wurlitzer organ, and first film shown was called “All Aboard.” The theater’s signs, such as the one in our graphic, were made by the Arnold Electic Sign Company of Kokomo

The Rivoli redecorated and modernized in 1946, including new lighting, new seats, and new plaster effects to the ceilings, and modernized again when a new giant screen installed in 1952, with a commitment to update the theater regularly. 

While at one point there were nine theaters just downtown, but attendance at all of them dropped as less people shopped downtown. The Rivoli was the last remaining downtown theater when it was put up for sale. The theater was purchased by the Ball Corporation as a new site for the Ball Foundation. The Foundation initially tried to save the building, but instead built its new headquarters on the site, as it was determined the theater was not salvageable. They faced lots of outcry from citizens wanting to save the building, including a petition headed by theater employees which garnered 1,200 signatures in two days, but it was ultimately torn down in 1987. 

rivoli gallery (photos from lost muncie and the star Press)

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