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Just recieved an e-mail from Shaun @ Harbor Arts who stated that the D&R Theater may be lost to them. They haven’t recieved the funding nessesary to complete the purchase and the current owner is no longer returning there calls. They are looking at the Aberdeen Theater (Warner Bros.) down the block, I hope they have better luck. Aberdeen needs to start thinking about saving some of the historic structures left in the city. If the city allows all the old buildings to be lost they will have a city that will have no history and no soul.
Along with air conditioning the theater now has new seats, a new screen and new sound system (SDDS). The projection equip was also updated. The lobby was remodeled with a new consessions counter that is evocative of the 1930’s in design, and both restrooms have been gutted and redone. There are also several original paintings adorning the lobby of movie stars of the 30’s, thru today. Very nice. TJ also uses real butter on the popcorn. The marquee is being redone in stainless steel and neon, should be finished for the 70th aviversary this spring.
a-men to that, the only problem now is that they don’t want to use the booth. They have their lighting board set-up in the middle of the auditorium and there are those who don’t think they should have to move it. Some think that the paying audience should work around the crew not the other way. But there are a few people who are trying to get things set up correctly.
Thanks, just curious. Was also wondering why the new projection and view windows were cut into the booth. I would have thought that the updated projection equipment could have been installed using the old ports and preserving the original look of the booth. I have seen many restored theaters that have installed newer equipment and not altered the outward appearance of the auditorium. Those working in the booth also wonder why the original console was removed. It housed the switches for the curtain and masking motors as well as the lighting controls. I know the dimmers did not work and needed restoring but I think that cleaning and some new brushes would have done the job. The picture is very nice and the sound is excellent when a modern film is shown, taking full advantage of the stereo and surround.
Yes I asked about the projectors and was told that 1 of the e-7’s was gone. The person I spoke with did not know where it had gone to, just that it was no longer in the theater. I did not know that parts were taken off the other lamphouse that is in storage. I am curious why they let one of the projector heads go along with parts from the peerless mag-n-arc. Will have to inquire as to there motive.
Just visited the 7th st again and took them about an hours worth of old previews most of which were for films dating from 1976 to 1990. They like to show older previews before the film and were having trouble finding material. Also included some old service announcements and daters, some of them dating from the 1950’s thru the 1980’s. Things are coming along nicely, the place is looking better all the time. I do feel that they should be showing more films when the theater is dark with no live shows booked, but these things take time. All in all just being open is good.
I still think this would be a good alternative to the multi-plex in Aberdeen. I bet the church would sell if the price was right.
I was at the 7th st again and want to report that the old projection equipment that was removed is still at the 7th st. The Simplex E7 projectors, RCA Photophone soundheads and the Perlees Mac-n-Arc lamps have not been sold and are in storage in the theater. One complete projector is set up and on display in the lobby. It brings back a lot of fond memories as I enjoyed using that equipment and others like it in the other Harbor theaters. I have always felt that the old manual way of projecting a movie was preferable to the modern automation. The old way allowed for a little showmanship, automation generally doesn’t. I’ve done both, and find platters and automation to be rather souless.
Hooray, At last the work can now begin!!!
Rick, everything I’ve posted is from memory, and research. I worked for Grays Harbor Theatres in the early 1980’s at the D&R, Aberdeen and Harbor Drive-In as a projectionist. I also worked at the 7th St for a short while when Bob Serradel owned it. The D&R was always my favorite theatre so I did a lot of research as a personal project. At the time the place was open there was a lot of old documentation stored in the building so there was always plenty to read and look at. Sadly thats all gone but I’ve tried to relate most of it here and on the pages for the other theatres on the harbor. I look forward to assisting Harbor Arts at some time in the future when they get things going.
Was at the 7th St last week for a screening of North by Northwest, great movie in a great theater. Things are getting better, but they have a long way to go. Although it is good to see people coming out for movies there again. They have a very good picture and sound, especially their SCOPE picture.
As best as I can tell the D&R was always connected with FOX in some way. While the theater was locally built and owned, FOX or one of it’s subsidiaries provided product for the theater through out it’s history. The last remodel in the 1940’s even resembles the decorations being done in FOX theaters. The only time it wasn’t connected with FOX was during its days with Grays Harbor Theaters at the end of it’s first run life.
The Aberdeen Theater is no longer for sale. It was sold over 2 years ago and the church that now occupies the building is not interested in selling. To bad it could have been a nice theater again.
Just had the pleasure of touring the D&R and was pleasently supprised. The building is in very good condition. It will need a complete replacement of all its systems ie: plumbing electrical etc. but that is to be expected. There is a lot of peeling paint but overall very little plaster damage. While Dave and Shaun have there work cut out for them this should prove to be a real gem when they are finished.
Does Harbor Arts Foudation have an e-mail address?
After Grays Harbor Theatres closed due to compitition from Luxury Theaters in the Mall, a young couple re opened the theater and ran it for about a year. That is when the video games were installed and after that failed Nomah Productions took over. Nomah was comprised of John Carlberg, Mark Richey, Ron Carlson, Mark actually lived in the theater during this time. All three of us worked for Grays Harbor Theatres and wanted to see the D&R stay open. Since movies were not an option John wanted to use the theater for live performances. Unfortunatly funds ran out and the group disbanded and the owner Grace Dolan (daughter of builder Ed Dolan) gave the theater to the city of Aberdeen who sealed the building up and then sold it to the current owner who is now selling to Harbor Arts.
There are also pictures of the theater in all of it’s incarnations in the Jones Photo collection. If the collection is still in Aberdeen, Harbor Arts may want to get copy’s. There are exterior and complete interior photo shoots of the theater in it’s original form (1920’s) first remodel (1930’s) and final remodel,(1940’s). These would be invaluable as the blue prints are not exactly what was built originally. During construction there were some changes made in reguards to interior decoration. Also Joe Kruft is correct 87 was about the time that the place closed as I was also a part of Nomah and enjoyed many of those productions.
Thanks for the info.It’s much appreciated.
The original box office was on the outside of the theater but was built into the wall between the entrance doors like the 7th St theater. The current box office is actually the 3rd one to grace the theater. The current marquee is also the 3rd one. The original was quite simple, but there was a verticle blade sign running down the front of the building and there were no verticle stripes on the front. While the original signage did not have the glitz of the later additions, I think a nicely restored facade would be good.
A-Men!! And clean up the entrance, along with replacing the glass in the ticket booth. Getting rid of the chicken wire.
I’m glad to hear that the E7’s are being used while they were very old they were good machines. I have the original manuals for those proj. heads and all the equip used at the 7th st. D&R, Aberdeen and Harbor Drive-In. As for the 7th st. “seeing the light” there are those who are trying to improve things but it is an uphill battle. As Katie stated the people who run the theater have good intentions but they are not “Theater people” and that is the big chalange. But things are getting better although there have been some serious errors made in how things have been done at the 7th st. ie: the large hole in the booth wall.
Thank goodness someone is willing to do something with the D&R. My best wishes for Harbor Arts. This was always the BEST theater on the harbor. This is just the kind of enterprise that can start a revitalization of the down town that has seen so much of it’s business move out.
The “new” equipment I was referring to is the equipment you installed. Which is new compared to the Simplex e7, RCA photophone soundheads and Peerless Magna-Arc lamphouses I used when I was a projectionist there in the early 1980’s. They now also have a real projectionist, Mark Richey, who is trying to teach the people who run the theater what showing a movie is all about. Mark ran the D&R booth for many years befor it closed. The 7th street staff saw no need for screen masking, or using the curtain. There is a contigent at the 7th street who feel the theater should be a live venue only and movies are treated as 2nd class.
You may be right about the Art theater, I was just trying to think of something but first run. But the “stage” at the Aberdeen is really only large enough for a screen and speakers. There is no fly space or lighting, or dressing rooms. Having worked at both the D&R and Aberdeen for many years, the D&R was the only one equiped for stage shows. The Aberdeen was built only for movies. Unfortunatly the D&R has been closed for about 20 years and stripped and would take a vary large influx of cash to re-open. The Aberdeen should be just about turn key with the only issues being projection, sound equipment and a screen.
I agree, someone should do domething with the D&R. If not a theater maybe some kind of performance space, or restaurant and dance club, or comedy club. Something that is going to showcase the buildings attributes. Many large theater have been re-used for other purposes with-out destroying there interiors.