The Marion Theater has been a beloved part of downtown Ocala since it opened in 1941. At the time, its air-conditioned comfort and first run films made it a big attraction.
Located just off the historic Ocala Downtown Square, the theater charged 33 cents for matinees and 39 cents for evening shows back then, shown in a building built with Art Deco splendor. For decades, the Marion was a staple of local movie entertainment.
But by the mid-1970s, time and modern multiplexes had taken their toll. The theater shut its doors for more than a decade. In 1986, former Ocala Mayor Jim Kirk donated the building to the city.
With some renovations, the theater became the Discovery Science Center, an interactive learning experience for young students. But after a dozen years, the science center moved out too, leaving the building vacant again.
By the early years of this century, a million-dollar renovation renewed interest in the Marion. For a few years after that, it bounced from management group to management group, closing occasionally in between.
The coronavirus pandemic appeared poised to shut the doors for good last year. That’s when the local Reilly Arts Center took over management of the theater, bringing movies, music and live performances back. The theater has reopened, offering shows for all ages.
TJM Promos has had the privilege of providing custom items to the theater and to the Reilly Arts Center. As part of the theater’s ongoing funding, local businesses sponsor the Marion each month. In January, TJM was the sponsor. We are proud to have the opportunity to support this long-standing iconic local institution and are grateful for our ability to contribute to the continued survival of this cherished local landmark.