7th Street Theatre

313 7th Street,
Hoquiam, WA 98550

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Showing 26 - 50 of 75 comments

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on August 29, 2007 at 5:25 pm

As an outsider to The 7th Street Theatre, I recently had chance to see the place. My initial response of seeing the grandeur of this treasure was, “My word, what an exqui- … WHAT THE HELL ARE THOSE DOING THERE?” Who in heaven’s name would mount huge JBL speakers in the sky? It certainly destroys the illusion of an atmospheric theater!

As future improvements come down the pike for this exquisite theater, my hope is that the powers-that-be keep in check those neanderthals who only see what task they have at hand with absolutely no regard to the asthetics of this historic gem. Get a second opinion from another set of “experts” before allowing a goon squad to destroy your atmospheric qualities. There will always be SOMEBODY who can appreciate your unique theatre while providing your needed services.

Best of luck with your ceiling repairs and repainting. This will enhance the 7th Street even more. Once completed, the effect will stun everyone who comes thru your front doors.

A note about your seats: The seats themselves have lost their spring and comfort capabilties. They need replaced – also because today’s posterior is larger than those fannies from the 1920’s. If you were to contact the original manufacturer [and several are still in business, like Irwin Seating Company], they would send someone out to see your theatre and propose overhauling your seats – in the same style & using those wonderful iron end plates – into something more plush and comfortable … all the while using your original seat design. You would lose some seating capability with the wider seat cushions, but would that affect your overall box office draw going from 1,000 seats to 850?

My last suggestion would be to replace the dingy fabric on the back walls and on front of the projector booth with a lovely new wall fabric available to theaters today. This fabric is almost carpet-like in its appearance and comes in a LOT of colors. You could find one that most fits the decor of the 7th Street, and best of all, it’s fairly affordable. It goes up with glue, has a textured appearance, is virtually undamagable by human hands, and provides the sound dampening effect you need back there. And it looks great. If you’d like to know what fabric I’m talking about, let me know and I’ll research it for you.

You guys have a real jewel in the 7th Street Theatre, and you should be commended for the hard work and dedication you put into the place. To my mind, the 7th Street Theatre rivals Seattle’s Paramount and 5th Avenue Theaters. I hope one day to see it in all its original splendour.

laneyoumans on July 31, 2007 at 8:54 pm

Cruiser95fm: I have heard noises in the theatre when I’m there alone, but I’ve always thought it was just the usual creeks and groans from an old building. I’ve never noticed anything missing or moved before, but I’ll have to pay closer attention. In 1969, 16 year old Paul Miller was climbing on the fire escape of the VFW building, which is across the alley from the theatre, when a portion of the ladder collapsed and Paul was killed. Paul was a friend of mine, and perhaps he is letting people know that he is still around.

SteveLeeson on July 31, 2007 at 3:32 pm

Thanks for the update. I remembered that in the 1980’s I came across several people who would swear the theater was haunted. Bob Brawley and others who were in the building restoring the 7th Street Sweet Shop, would tell me that they thought either someone was living inside the theatre, or there was a mischievous ghost. When they would come to work in the morning, they would find their ladders, paint, brushes, and tools either missing or scattered away from where they left them. Sometimes Items would go missing for some time, only to turn up somewhere else (the dressing rooms were mentioned) or back where they belonged. I remember there being all kinds of trap doors (one really creepy one in the midst of seats ahead of the projection room) and crawl spaces all over in there. It was a nightmare to search, and when I worked at the Police Dept as a Reserve, I found my share of open doors there. Almost every time we searched it, we would swear that someone was near the stage area. We were extra careful as I believe the coin shop next door was burglarized one time by the suspect breaking into the ticket booth and gaining entry thru a crawl space into the coin shop. During our searches, we never found anyone, but like our Sergeant always told us, it was impossible to completely clear. The only tragic thing that I could remember occuring there, a young male teenager lost his life in the narrow alley between the theater and the old Veteran’s Building next door. A crowd was waiting for a movie there and the kid climbed up the fire escape. I don’t remember if he fell or if the fire escape broke as this was the 1960’s, but the movie was cancelled and my firends and I ended up walking home in the rain.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on July 4, 2007 at 11:27 pm

There are great photo’s of this theater in all it’s incarnations at www.jonesphotocollection.com be shur to search using different spellings for “theater” and “theatre” as there are many different photo’s and they do not all pull up at once.

Mickey Thurman
Mickey Thurman on June 19, 2007 at 8:11 pm

Cruiser—The sound booth is actually located above the horizontal aisle at the center bottom of the balcony. It fits in very well with the interior and many people don’t even notice it. We have a 40-channel Allen & Heath mixing console. Pictures are available on our website, newsletter, or if you use the email link on our website and ask for pictures, I can email you some. We had a professional sound engineer install the system and we are extremely pleased with it as it works extremely well with the natural acoustics. Regarding musty smells — we keep the heat at a constant 55 degrees and it’s not a problem any longer. The theatre has had a new roof in 2003 and exterior sealing is ongoing, which helps reduce the moisture. Thanks for your input.

SteveLeeson on June 19, 2007 at 5:39 pm

Oh, I almost forgot. Dehumidifiers for the stage/backstage area would help. I remember the place smelling musty and some of the singers complained. It might help if the heat isn’t on all of the time.

SteveLeeson on June 19, 2007 at 5:33 pm

Lane, you need to be careful with the theatre’s acoustics. When it was built, it had the natural amplification built into it’s construction and changing any of the design, material, or dimensions could also alter the acoustics. Remember the Merilee Rush & Three Dog Night concerts there? I was standing outside directly across the street and the first song came on. It was LOUD! People were rushing outside holding their hands over their ears. Inside, the band on stage complained their monitors were not loud enough. That was caused by the buildings acoustics amplifying the sound and projecting it to the audience. You need an acoustics expert, someone who deals in engineering live sound to properly fit a system for it. I agree that the movie sound and live sound should be two seperate systems. They are like comparing apples/oranges. For live concert/musical productions I would strongly recommend the following:
1. In-The-Ear monitors. Musicians and singers all have a different preference for monitor loudness during live performances. You can tailor them for each performer. You also do not run into the problem of the monitor sound mixing with the live sound and being bounced back out to the audience. I’m not talking about feed-back, but the differences of the same sound from two different sources traveling at different times causing a phase problem which can result in “dead spots” and different tonal preception. Plus, you don’t have those ugly floor monitors cluttering up your stage floor.
2. Your sound board & engineer need to be located in the theatre, probably directly in front of the projection room if that is possible. He needs some sort of partition, but not a “booth” because he needs to hear the sound, as it is in the theatre, not inside an accoustic booth over JBL Studio monitors, as that does not match the sound that is going on in the theatre! He can however, use headphones to reference and process input sound that is being used to record the performance, as well as cue up any sound effects that are being used in a play or program production.
3. Make sure your sound board is big enough to handle any programs you intend to do. At The Church of Living Water in Olympia, I thought a 56 channel Soundcraft board was a huge dinosaur. It was overwhelming at first, until we used almost every channel during our Christmas production with plays, and singers and a band.
4. Consult an audio engineer for your speaker placement. Perhaps you could get them off of the ceiling and off to the side, maybe hide them behind some planters, flowers, incorporate them better. A competent audio engineer who knows his live acoustics could make a spectrogram analysis of the theatre’s acoustics and target speaker placement.

Remember, keep long term goals in mind. I’d love to help you, but I moved to Chicago 3 years ago. There were some experts working the sound system at The Church of Living Water, you might ask Val Gonzales to locate any of them.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on April 27, 2007 at 5:33 pm

I agree, Ken was way out of line to bring up the above item as it has nothing to do with the 7th St. or theaters in general.

laneyoumans on April 25, 2007 at 5:17 am

William, Thank you! I had never heard of those sites. I see that I’ll have to register and keep an eye on those sites as well. There are so many volunteers working hard to make the 7th St. a success, a place where you can have a movie experience, rather than just going to the mall cinema and watching a movie. It’s a shame that some people use these public sites as their personal bitch box.

William on April 24, 2007 at 12:50 pm

He has posted the above article on bigscreenbiz and Cinematour sites too. He has not posted it to FilmTech yet.

laneyoumans on April 24, 2007 at 12:01 pm

For those of you who read the above post and didn’t bother to click on the link to the article that appeared in the Daily World, let me set the record straight. Matt Herschfelder, who was the choir director at Hoquiam High School, is alleged to have had sex with an 18 year old student at the high school, NOT AT THE THEATRE. Matt also happens to be a member of the 7th St Theatre board. Ken Layton’s post suggests that a board member is having sex with minors at the theatre, and that is not true. I thought this web site was for people to discuss their experiences at theatres, but Ken wants to turn it into a gossip column. Shame on you ken.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on February 25, 2007 at 10:05 am

To answer your question about the Lynwood, yes and no. The second owners Glen and Lucille Nolta who owned the theater from 1950 untill 1982 made changes to the auditorium in 1953 to acomodate Cinema Scope. They tore out the entire stage area and rebuilt it so wide screen presentations could be shown. The Lynwood does have the original wall covering and lighting in the auditorium and the general layout is the same but that is about all. We are always adding 1930’s elements to the theater to bring the feeling back. The 7th street is very lucky that basicly nothing was changed from the time of construction. You have a rare gem that was not cobbled up during it’s life. The 1950’s were especially bad for a lot of theaters with reguards to remodels.

laneyoumans on February 24, 2007 at 7:57 pm

Ron, Your opinion is duly noted. As I have said before, we are trying our best to maintain that circa 1928 look. Does your Lynwood theatre look like it did in 1936?

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on February 24, 2007 at 5:29 pm

I totally agree that the work done on the dressing rooms and roof and wiring were absolutly nessesary. I also agree that the stage rigging needs to be replaced, and the carpet and the seating needs to be restored. These are all GOOD things that have been done or are going to be done to help save the 7th st. As I have stated many times the things that I have problems with are when changes are being made to a significant historical structure with out first exploring how to make the changes invisible. Sometimes things can not be avoided, but more often than not updates can be made that maybe are a little more difficult to use by the staff but the benifit is that they are invisible to the general public. The behind the scenes should be 21st century but the public spaces should be 1928. The audience should NEVER see the inner workings of the theater. They should be transported back to 1928 as if in a time capsule. This is the basic premise of historic restoration. Looking at many historic buildings that have been restored, some done all at once and some done a little at a time, the best ones are those that have sucessfully hidden all the modern updates. The only exception is restrooms. People generally want modern clean restrooms. I see the 7th st is trying to do the best that they can with the funds that are available but there are some things that are just not in keeping with a 1928 movie theater. I have already stated what those are previously. Also any time any theater sells out a show of any kind this is a GREAT thing. I’m not trying to be negative but just want those in charge to stop and really take a look at what they are doing before they do it. And to always keep in mind the look and feel of the theater. Circa 1928.

cself on February 23, 2007 at 12:25 pm

I am with the Miss Grays Harbor/Miss Pacific Coast Scholarship Program. We recently held our annual pageant at the 7th Street Theatre and not only did we sell out every seat but we turned people away at the door. It was wonderful to see the theatre full again. We were pleased with the updated dressing rooms, the sound and lights and the overall attitude of the board members. I know they are working diligently to find grants for new stage rigging and updated seats and carpet are in the works as well. Rome was not built in a day and all good things take time.

laneyoumans on February 6, 2007 at 1:00 pm

Getting everything fixed at the same time, rather than piecemeal, would be perfect, but that’s not how the grant money comes in (if you know of any million dollar grants, please let me know). The dressing rooms had to be redone first. They were in terrible shape, and what performer would want to use them? The roof was also a priority and had to be taken care of. The riggings are 80 years old, and it should have been changed 30 years ago, so it is a safety factor. After that is completed, our full focus will be on the auditorium, seats redone and new carpeting, then the ceiling will be replastered. I know that some people are unhappy about the ceiling mounted speakers and the location of the sound booth, but the experts said this was what we needed for the best live performance sound. It is done, and at some time in the future, it could be undone. As I said earlier, our concern is seperating the two sound systems, and the people at A.C.E. will help us do that so that we can deliver the best Dolby sound. As for the heat, it just has to be turned on early enough so the heat hits the lower section. It’s a balancing act, as the heating bill can reach $2,000 during the winter months. We’re working on a system that will channel the heat from the top of the balcony to the front row, using the exsisting heat ducts.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on February 6, 2007 at 12:13 pm

Lane Youmans.
I’m sorry if I sounded bitchy when I wrote about the new sound system but the fact remains that the speakers are hanging from the cieling where they don’t belong. This is an atmospheric theater and the cieling is an illusion of the sky, go look outside, there arn’t speakers hanging from the clouds. Also I know that the new light and sound booth was put where it is based on the people on the board and the company in Olympia that sold you the system. And the booth is in a place where the customers have to sit around it. The comfort of the techs who run the shows is of the last importance. The audience should come first. The booth should be located at the top of the balcony or directly in front of the projection booth! There by no one would have to sit behind it. Yes you need new rigging for the stage, and the newly cleaned up dressing rooms are nice, but that does not sell tickets. A clean comfortable evenly heated theater does. As far as the movie sound, why did the company from Olympia even mess with the movie sound in the first place? It is OK to have 2 separate systems, now you have to go back and try to fix what wasn’t broke to begin with. I know that your movie audience is growing and this part of your programing is making money. Thats a good thing, but there needs to be a little more sensetivity with reguards to the alterations to the theater, so many little things have been done that are not in keeping with the historic fabric of the 7th st. I wish you all the best but so far I see a lot of good and a lot of bad. By the way their are several nationaly known companys who specialize in building restorations including theaters. Why not gather up all the grants and other monies that you can and hire one of these companys to come in and restore the theatre. This will also include updating the mechanical systemns, there by getting the job done all at once and correctly instead of doing it piecemeal.

laneyoumans on February 6, 2007 at 9:30 am

Ken, What “major repairs” for the restrooms are you talking about? All of the fixtures work (with the exception of hot water, but that will be fixed soon). There are brand new paper towel and toilet paper dispensers, the paint is fine, no holes in the walls or floor, etc. Give me a list of complaints, and we’ll fix what we can. There has been some discussion about installing some type of table for diaper changing, but that’s the only change I know of. We also have a recently installed handicap accessible restroom down by the stage.

laneyoumans on February 6, 2007 at 6:25 am

We’ve been discussing the situation with A.C.E. to seperate the two systems. Live arts and movies can’t run through the same exact system, and we hope to resolve the problem shortly. I realize some people dislike the platter system, but we have one, and are able to show classic movies and people keep coming back. It was mentioned in an earlier post about how small the seats are. There are actually three different sized seats in the 7th St. The largest are the loge seats at the top of the lower section. The Miss Grays Harbor/ Miss Pacific Coast pagent was held at the theatre last weekend, and every seat was filled.

KenLayton on February 6, 2007 at 5:45 am

All your movie sound should be running through the CP-500 and QSC amplifiers you got from Scott Hicks. Movie sound should never be patched through a mixing board. With as few movie showings you do, they should have kept the original two projector setup and not gotten a platter.

laneyoumans on February 6, 2007 at 5:39 am

Ken, The sound system is new, and we’re working on returning all three speakers behind the screen and resolving Dolby surround issues. The picture windows were cut into the booth for sound and light controls, but it was determined by sound experts to be a poor choice. The windows can (and most probably will) be filled in. The 7th St. is a historical theatre, and we are trying very hard to maintain that look and feel, so if you are looking for a cup holder, go to the mall cinema.

laneyoumans on February 6, 2007 at 5:38 am

Ken, The sound system is new, and we’re working on returning all three speakers behind the screen and resolving Dolby surround issues. The picture windows were cut into the booth for sound and light controls, but it was determined by sound experts to be a poor choice. The windows can (and most probably will) be filled in. The 7th St. is a historical theatre, and we are trying very hard to maintain that look and feel, so if you are looking for a cup holder, go to the mall cinema.

KenLayton on February 6, 2007 at 4:55 am

Lane Youmans:

Why are the movie speakers NOT behind the screen? Why was a huge picture window cut into the front wall of the projection booth?

Those seats don’t need reupholstering, they need to be replaced with new seats with cupholders. You would be surprised that people don’t tell you about bad seats—-they just never come back.

laneyoumans on February 5, 2007 at 6:32 pm

Ron, the next time you are at the 7th St Theatre, please talk to one of the board members to find out about all of the projects that in the works at the theatre. It’s unfortunate that the majority of completed projects are ones the general public doesn’t get to see (new roof, new dressing rooms), but we are presently securing grants and other funding to replace the stage rigging and flywalks, reupholster and refurbish almost 1,000 “rock hard” seats, replace the carpeting, fix the “atmospheric” ceiling (as well as getting all of the twinkling stars working again), and yes, we will soon have two insta heat water heaters in the restrooms. You are incorrect to say the attendance is dwindling. It has been increasing, and more and more people are coming to watch classic movies, eat popcorn with real butter, and feel like they are watching a movie outdoors. The theatre is a work in progress, with a lot of dedicated volunteers. All it takes is money. Not everyone is happy with the new sound system, but it will be a benefit to the live arts, and we are striving to have the best facility we can for both live arts and movies.