Kirk Douglas passed away this week, and amidst starring roles in "Spartacus" and "Champion," he also campaigned to save the Indian Hills movie theater.
The Omaha theater situated west of 84th and Dodge Streets was one of only a few constructed with Cinerama technology, which used three separate film projectors to cast images onto its curved, ultra-wide screen.
In 2001, Douglas wrote a letter to The World-Herald:
From: Kirk Douglas,
Beverly Hills, Calif.
I must convey to the good people of Omaha how important our cultural and artistic history is to us and to future generations. The Indian Hills Theater is a wonderful representation of our past and present. It has been the host of many cinematic masterpieces over the years and is one of a kind. They will not make another like it, and for that alone it should be preserved.
I implore you not to allow this theater to go to ruin. The world does not need another parking lot. Instead, please allow this theater to remain and continue to bring the magic of movies to our lives.
Other famous names that joined Douglas in protesting the theater's demolition included film critic Leonard Maltin, novelist and screenwriter Ray Bradbury and actor Charlton Heston.
Methodist Hospital purchased the property, which was adjacent to its campus. The Omaha Landmarks Heritage Preservation Commission designated the theater a historic landmark, but the building was still torn down in 2001.