The Golden Age of Indianapolis Theaters

The Golden Age of Indianapolis Theaters

Howard Caldwell
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 07/07/2010
Format: Hardback 84 b&w illus.
ISBN: 978-0-253-35460-0
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Opening a window on a storied past, longtime Indianapolis television journalist and lifelong theatergoer Howard Caldwell presents the story of the magnificent theaters of Indianapolis. Caldwell shares with us the pleasure these majestic spaces brought to thousands of Hoosiers during their glory days—when an outing to the theater was a special event and film was still a marvel of technology. He discusses the roles played by the greatest stars of the day and relates the origins of Indy’s famous theaters: the Murat, the Circle, the Indiana, the English, and the Lyric, to name a few. Caldwell points out which theaters featured burlesque shows and vaudeville routines, explores the traditions of regional and national theater productions, notes when the first motion pictures and talkies came to town, and highlights old time musical reviews and symphonic performances. Vividly illustrated with rare photos and anecdotes, The Golden Age of Indianapolis Theaters celebrates the city's rich theater tradition.

Author Bio

Howard Caldwell is a retired newscaster for WRTV-6 in Indianapolis and author of Tony Hinkle: Coach for All Seasons (IUP, 1991).


“Vividly illustrated with rare photos and anecdotes, this celebration of Circle City's rich theater tradition presents the story of its majestic theaters, the pleasure they brought during their glory days, and the origins of some of the most appreciated: the Murat, the Circle, the Indiana, the English, and the Lyric, among others.”

“I know of no other single book that covers this material. . . . [T]he photos alone would be worth the price of the book.”
 — Marion Simon Garmel, retired theatre critic

“Caldwell gives readers juicy bits about early musical theater, burlesque shows, . . . the Ziegfeld Follies' Indianapolis appearances, and the golden era of the still-beautiful Murat. August 15, 2010”
 — The Herald-Times

“Caldwell is a retired Indianapolis TV newscaster whose love of live theatre and films witnessed in beautiful structures is apparent throughout.July 28, 2010”
 — Nuvo

“Theater-lovers will enjoy the rare photos and frequent anecdotes Caldwell includes for a first-person recount and commentary on the events of detail.August 2010”
 — Northern Indiana Lakes

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Table of Contents


1. Birth of a Theater Buff
2. Theater One and What Happened Before
3. A War's Effect and Another Theater Is Born
4. Theater Count Briefly Jumps to Three
5. English's Opera House and Its Impact
6. The 1890s and Its Seeds of Change
7. Theater Enhancement and the Gentle Intrusion of Moving Pictures
8. English's and the Grand Lead the Growing Theater Parade
9. The Shuberts Come to Town as the Theater Competition Grows
10. City's First Movie Palace Enhances Respectability of Going to the Movies
11. The 1920s and the Birth of New Challenges
12. The Silent Film Era's Finale
13. Sound Moves in with a Vengeance
14. The 1930s and Its Challenges
15. The 1930s and Its Challenges II
16. The Rest of the 1930s Survivors
17. The 1940s, a Decade of Success and Sadness
18. The 1950s Bring Changes and New Competition
19. A Brief Look at What Happened Next