This won’t be a long blog post. I know most people visiting this site will never make a trip to central Indiana. I’m writing this entry to let the world know places like the Diana Theatre still exist post-COVID. An establishment not based on greed but to entertain and enrich the lives of the people in its tiny community. Thus, I want to take you to Tipton, Indiana, and the Diana Theatre.
Rooster and I wanted to see the movie Cruella. We’d seen the advertisements for the movie on the television. Emma Stone is one of our favorite actresses. I had a strong desire to see if she could pull off playing one of the most infamous Disney villainesses of all time. Rooster and I often travel to the Diana Theatre when we go to the movies. Tipton is a small farming community. The Diana is a tiny theatre where a family of four can still enjoy a movie and popcorn for under twenty dollars. We heard it had opened again, so we drove to 137 E Jefferson Street to enjoy the show.
History of the Diana Theatre
In 1915 the Grand Theatre opened its doors. The Paikos family bought the small-town theatre in 1927. The establishment was renamed after a contest in which Diana Theatre was selected as the winner. Silent films were a big attraction back in the day. In 1947 the theatre closed due to a fire. It reopened in 1948. This small-town movie venue not only survived the fire but a world war, numerous economic downturns, and now COVID-19.
The third generation of the Paikos family still owns and operates the Diana Theatre. On Easter and Christmas, the family opens the theatre doors and gives the community of Tipton a free show. They managed to keep the price of admission small and don’t charge an arm and a leg for popcorn. These facts make the Diana Theatre the best bargain around.
Diana Theatre post-Covid
We wondered if the Diana Theatre changed much since they closed their doors for COVID. Many businesses in our area have raised prices or closed permanently. A nostalgic feeling swept me along when I walked into the Diana and noticed the same old guy sitting in the window collecting the entrance fee for the movie. He is the same man who once told us he hated to take our money because the movie we were paying to see sucked. It turned out he wasn’t kidding. The movie did suck. Rooster and I wished we’d took his word and left by the time the closing credits rolled across the screen. I don’t remember the movie’s name, but I took the owner’s honesty away with me.
The only thing that seemed to change was the mural painted on the outside of the theatre. It may have been there before, but I never noticed it.
A word about the movie Cruella
Both Rooster and I felt like Emma Stone pulled off playing the role of one of Disney’s most famous villainesses perfectly. By the end of the movie, a person could understand why Cruella turned bad. We also felt like this was a movie for adults. If you are looking for a redemption story, this is not the movie for you. The overall moral seemed to be sometimes it’s good to be bad. The audience knew Cruella would sink to the level of kidnapping Dalmatian puppies for the sake of fashion by the end of the film.
Wrapping up our visit to the Diana Theatre
The one thing Hoosiers do better than most of the world is small-town living. We have our big cities, but most of the population lives in small communities like Tipton, Indiana. It’s a place where everyone knows their neighbors, and everyone is involved with everyone else’s business. Life moves a little slower here, and establishments like the Diana Theatre still exist. The trick is to know where these hole-in-the-wall places are located. If you ever find yourself in my neck of the woods, keep this blog handy. An evening spent at the Diana Theatre will be like taking a stroll into the 1960s.
Who is Molly Shea?
Molly Shea is an accomplished fictional short story writer from Indiana who writes short stories and novels about a fictional town called Tecumseh. To read more of her short stories and adventures, click here.
Be sure to follow Molly on Twitter!