Source: Harry Leffel, "Straws in the Wind," News-Journal, circa 1965
The Lautzenhiser Market room was the site of the first picture theatre in North Manchester. The room originally was used by John Cowgill, manufacturer of boots and shoes; and later was occupied by the North Manchester post office. The post office had been moved from the Harter building on the north side of the street, now occupied by the Eldon Wright law office. The post office again was moved in 1908 to the Lawrence Bank building on Walnut street (recently vacated by the Manchester High School office). Shortly after the post office was moved, Mr. and Mrs. William Sirk started the Dreamland Theatre in the Lautzenhiser room. Later they changed the name to Gem Theatre and it was moved to the north side of the street, in the east part of the new double room now being remodeled for the Harvey Store. A successor to the Sirk Theatre was the Ritz Theatre.
Source: Brooks and Jefferson, Remembering North Manchester Indiana in the 1930s & 1940s, p. 12, 18, 37
About 1907 the Crystal Theater, owned by Harry Long, started at this address [211 East Main St.] with a 5¢ admission. The next owner, Mrs. William J. Sirk, owned the movie house for about ten years, then sold it to John E. Swain April 8, 1920. At some point the name changed to the Grand Theater. Then in the 1924 high school annual it showed the name was the Strand Theater and was owned by C.M. Walter. By 1928, W.C. West advertised in the annual as the Lyric Theater. By the 1930s, advertisements showed the Strand again with Walter the owner, so he may have owned it when West ran it. Sometime in the next few years before it closed, the name changed again to The Rex Theater. ...We think the Crystal Theater at this location was the first movie house, but there are claims [see Leffel, above] the Dreamland down the street was the first.
...Mr. and Mrs. William Sirk owned the movie house [at 129 East Main St.] as well as the one down the street. The Dreamland Theater was sold, we speculate around 1918, to John E. Swain who changed the name to the Gem Theater. In the early 1920s, C.M. Walter became the owner and moved the theater across the street, sometime prior to the Lautzenhiser grocery moving here in the 1920s.
...Radio Electric Theater [127 East Main St.] opened Friday and Saturday October 6 & 7, 1933. A May 28, 1934 News Journal article stated that Radio Electric Theater, owned we think by Earl Scott, moved across the street and changed its name to Marshall Theater. Her daughter, Eileen Brubaker Bolinger, tells us that Berniece Sherburn Brubaker played piano for silent movies at this theater in the early 1930s.
There was a theater at this location [128 E. Main St.] called the Gem theater, owned by C.M. Walters. In October 1931, Mr. Walters reopened the theater and changed the name to the Ritz. In 1933, Wayne Garman took over ownership of the Ritz Theater.
...Clarence Helvey and Earl Scott announced the opening of the Marshall Theater here [126 E. Main St.] on September 2, 1934. Wayne Garman, who owned the Ritz Theater, later acquired the Marshall Theater -- possibly when a "new management" ad was run on March 4, 1935. The Marshall Theater remained here for the rest of our study period, and actually outlasted the Ritz.