Marion Francis Bodwell (1904-1983)

Son of: Arthur 1871

Marion worked as a teen-ager at a Wyoming, Il theater that started at the outset of the silent movies. He enjoyed movies so much that he decided to go into the business himself. In 1934, he bought a 1881 downtown structure that started as a grocer and bank with a cigar factory in the basement and a doctor upstairs. Marion remodeled the building, slanted the floor, and installed 281 seats, a screen, and a box office. A fan of Paramount Productions and the films it made, Bodwell adopted the Paramount moniker for his picture show and spelled it out in neon on his expensive marquee. Over, time the business passed into the hands of his son Tom. In 1969, Tom facing declining personal health and attendance at the theater shut its doors. In 1987, Tom and his wife Linda who live above the theater, reopened it briefly. The theater is now open again on weekends. Both projectors date to World War II and the dual sound systems date to 1938 and feature massive vacuum tubes. This is the only remaining theater in Stark County. Linda runs the adjacent Dairy Creme ice cream shop. Peoria Journal Star, October 5, 1996.





4 Jan 1904

22 Jul 1983

19 Aug 1935

Vera McClune*

Wyoming, Il

Peoria, Il

Tiskilwa, Il

b. 24 Apr 1909

Child of Marion and Vera (McClune) Bodwell



Birth Date

Birth Place

Death Date

Death Place


Thomas Wendell

31 Jul 1944

Wyoming, Il

30 Nov2000 obit

Wyoming, I.

*Vera died April 13, 1993 in Peoria. Vera owned and operated the Wyoming Dairy Queen and Paramount Theater for 30 years. Before that, she played the organ for silent movies. She was the organist at Wyoming Funeral Home for more than 25 years. Peoria Journal Star, April 15, 1993, p. C5.

December 27, 1996
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Contact: December 26,1996
Copyright (C) 1996, 1997 Donald J. Bodwell. All rights reserved.