Vernon G. Smith
Dr. Vernon Smith is Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African American Achievers, and led the restoration of the The Glen Theater, 20 West Ridge Road, in Gary Indiana.
The theater sat just off the corner of Broadway Avenue on Ridge Road in Gary, Indiana. It's opening attraction in 1968 was Disney's "The Happiest Millionaire". The theater was an instant success playing first run and revival films. Some weekends they would have kid shows in the mornings and action films for midnight shows. The Glen theater most often played the first run Walt Disney films of the 70's which included "Sword in the Stone", "The Apple Dumpling Gang", "Herbie Rides Again", and "One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing".
Sometimes they would play first run action films that would show up at the area drive-ins. The Glen's biggest attraction came relatively early in its life when they showed "Airport" for 10 weeks. In the mid 70's the Glen started experimenting with X-rated films and by 1977 had gone to porno altogether. The theater closed in 1981 amid gang activity and violence in the area.
In 1983 a Bible group reopened the Glen to show religious films such as "Ben-Hur" and "The Ten Commandments". That failed miserably and the doors closed for good just a month later. The marquee said 'Reopening Soon' and stayed that way for almost twenty years.
Today, the Glen Theater is owned by a non-profit (501-C3) organization known as the African American Achievers, Inc. The theater is built on the principles of presenting and producing quality theatrical art performances and educational opportunities. Our show case range continues to grow by following trends, improving our standards, and listening to the community. This allows the organization to make a distinctive and substantial impact to the community.