The Glen Theater at the corner of Broadway Avenue on Ridge Road in Gary was the place to be for seeing all of the latest Disney films of the 1970s.
Its featured movie for the big 1968 opening was Disney's 1967 musical film "The Happiest Millionaire" starring Fred MacMurray, Geraldine Page and Greer Garson, in what was her last film role.
It was Walt Disney's final movie before his death and MacMurray's character was based on real millionaire Anthony Drexel Biddle, Sr., who died in 1948 and was a banking magnate with eccentric taste.
The Glen's biggest box office draw was the 1970 airplane disaster film based on the Arthur Haley book of the same name "Airport," with an all-star cast including Dean Martin, Burt Lancaster, Jean Seberg, Helen Hayes, Jacqueline Bisset and Barbara Hale, which ran for 10 weeks.
During the decade of the early 1970s, The Glen became known for showing all the most popular Disney films of the day, including "Sword in the Stone," "The Apple Dumpling Gang," "Herbie Rides Again," and "One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing."
By the late 1970s, the theater changed emphasis and audiences, and began showing X-rated films, before ultimately closing in 1981.
Today, the Glen Theater is owned by a non-profit (501-C3) organization known as the African American Achievers, Inc. The theater has been completely refurbished and is built on "the principles of presenting and producing quality theatrical art performances and educational opportunities."
This weekend, The Glen celebrates the fifth anniversary of its reopening with a show called "Kings of Gospel." It's at 7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 13, at the theater, located at 20 W. Ridge Road.
As a special guest, Rep. Vernon Smith of Gary tells me the event also features tenor James Hudson of Chicago, whose repertoire includes jazz, gospel and rhythm and blues.
Tickets are $15 at Beautiful Things, 3570 Village Court, or $20 at the door. For more information, call (219) 887-2046.
An IMAX movie about the historic roads in Porter County and the rest of Indiana, along with fascinating stories told along those roads, will be shown one time only in Porter County.
The movie, titled "The Why in the Road," is playing at 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, at the Memorial Opera House, 104 Indiana Ave. in Valparaiso. The doors open at 1:30 p.m., and popcorn and drinks will be available.
Tickets are $9 at the Opera House box office at (219) 548-9137. Proceeds from the ticket sales will support non-profit organizations.
The crew that produced the movie focused their time in Porter County on scenic U.S. 12 and Lakefront Drive in the Duneland area and Lincolnway in Valparaiso, which is part of the historic Lincoln Highway.
While in Porter County, the film crew interviewed Valparaiso Mayor Jon Costas, Porter County Museum Executive Director Kevin Pazour, Lincoln Highway expert Todd Zeiger, Valparaiso clerk-treasurer Sharon Swihart and Ari Killian, who turned the historic Furness Mansion into DunesWalk Inn hotel.
Indiana Dunes Tourism, the official tourism bureau of Porter County, hosted the film crew. Indiana Dunes Tourism put together a proposal highlighting the beauty and history of Porter County, and Porter County was one of 22 Indiana counties selected for filming.
Indiana Dunes Tourism Executive Director Lorelei Weimer said the movie is one more way to highlight Indiana Dunes Country to potential visitors. The movie premiered at the Preserving the Historic Road national conference in September in Indianapolis.