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The building immediately west of the Hollywood burned down in a spectacular blaze back in 1997. A good friend of mine who worked for Portland Fire at the time was one of the first responding and helped save this great place. I remember seeing news footage of firefighters in the balcany lobby at 5 a.m. laying hoselines to project water out the windows onto the exterior walls and prevent it from developing into an exposure fire. Recently when I have driven by the theatre I have noticed the empty lot next door where that building once stood, and how dangerously close it did stand, and thanked God for the efforts of Portland’s bravest!
I had the privilage of seeing “Return Of The Jedi” originally in one of the balcony auditoriums, which along with “E.T” and “Ghostbusters” are my earliest film going memories, although the first is the only one I saw at the Hollywood. In 1990 my parents drug me to see a double feature of “Always” and “Steele Magnolias” in one of the balcony auditoriums with them. I recall it vividly because “Look Who’s Talking” was playing in the opposite balcony auditorium at the time and I would have preferred to see that and meet them afterward. The most recent film I have seen at the Hollywood was “Party Monster.” This is a great theatre, but you often have to act quick if you want to see a film there because they typically last only a week and then move on. Hence, the sad fact that it has been three years since I have been there. That is no excuse though. If you are a fan of cinema treasures and are in Portland ever, do yourself a favor and pay a visit!
Mark, you would know better than I about the Seattle Cinerama because I have yet to attend a film there. I may do so in the next few weeks. The Eastgate was a real treasure, especially auditorium 1. I think it may have had as many as 1,300 seats at one point. In the advertising they always billed it as the largest screen and auditorium in the state with wording such as, “Experience the force on Oregon’s largest screen…,” for “Star Wars”. Incidentally, it is now being used as a church similar to what SilverCamaro proposed for the National. Although, having someone occupy the National would obviously be better than seeing it demolished believe me, what the church has done to the Eastgate is a CRIME! I do not know, I really have no room to talk since I never got the chance to visit the National. All I can say is from what I have seen and read of the place, I mourn the loss along with you guys!
Mark: If you are ever back in the Seattle area you may want to pay a visit to Seattle Cinerama. A friend told me about it and it looks to have similarities to the National, the only difference being Paul Allen stepped in and saved it. I wish someone would do the same for the National.
D. Packard: Do not hang your head about not seeing 3:10 To Yuma at the National. I had a similar experience here in Portland, back in 2001, when my favorite local theatre the Eastgate was closing. They were showing Raiders Of The Lost Ark as a farewell, but I went against my instincts and instead went to try and meet up with a gal I liked at the time. She promptly brushed me off and I lost the opportunity to say goodbye to an old friend. In my case. I put hormones ahead of my passions, but in your case you had no advance notice the end was coming so abruptly for the National.
Hey guys, well I live in Portland, Oregon and am sad to say I never had the pleasure of attending a film at the National. I discovered it about a month ago while browsing around Cinema Treasures and by the time I had finished reading all of your comments, looking at your pictures, and learning of it’s history and struggle to stay open in an industry and society that seems to care little about historic gems like the National, I had fallen in love with the place. I share your passion for the National and mourn the loss just as you do. I only regret that I had not learned of the place sooner so I could have paid a visit myself and brought my camera with me. I was actually debating about making a couple day trip to Los Angeles during one of my upcoming vacation weeks with a visit to the National at the top of my list. Sadly, it seems I am a tad too late. Nonetheless, I thank you all for sharing your fond memories on this post and for allowing me to experience the National vicariously through them. I am not an industry insider or a man with deep enough pockets to invest in the National and keep her alive, I am merely a working class American with a passion for gems such as she. However, if I were I would sweep in and return her to her former glory in a heartbeat. Thank you all and I mourn the loss along with you.
I went to the Cinemagic last night to see Superbad. It does indeed have a small lobby where you buy your tickets and order concessions from behind the same counter. There were two people working, one handling tickets and the other doing concessions. It is far from a completely restored theatre, but you can see touches of its history here and there in the woodwork, smaller bathrooms, exterior and interior doors, and so on. The auditorium is done in blue walls and ceiling colors with blue curtains and a gold curtain that outlines the screen. There are tracks of tiny white lights worked into the walls that run up, across the ceiling, and back down the other wall staggered down length of the auditorium. The seats are not high back, but they are rockers upholstered in a pale orange. All in all this is a theatre with a lot of character. It is worth taking a trip to if you appreciate cinema treasures.
This is great Theater! It has a friendly staff, comfortable seating, decent food, and plenty of beer if you so desire. Wait a month or two and you can see the same movie Regal will charge nine dollars to attend for three dollars here only with much better atmosphere! They also acquire old movies year-round and run them for a week at a time. They are usually themed around some event or a time of the year. For example I have gone and seen: Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles, Ghostbusters, and The Goonies here.
I grew up a few miles away from the Rose Moyer so I can clear up some of the debate. The Rose Moyer was torn down in late 1996 or early 1997 and the Division 13 was built on the same site, not down the street. One of my first movie going memories ever is of seeing Ghostbusters here with my family as a 4 year old in the summer of 1984. I can still recall seeing certain scenes on the big screen there to this day when I watch Ghostbusters and I can also recall spending parts of the film on my knees with my face in the theater seat scared. The projectors were indeed visible overhead in the lobby and you could watch them operate and hear them as you walked through the lobby or waited for concessions. There were large green leafed trees that provided shade for parking on hot summer days in the parking lot. As I grew up I saw quite a few movies here such as UHF, Weekend At Bernies, The Shadow, and Star Trek Generations. I even saw No Holds Barred starring Hulk Hogan on opening day June 2, 1989. Hey, give me a break, I was 10 and a huge fan of Hulk so my older brother was willing to take me. In the 1990s Act III acquired most of the theaters and cinemas around the Portland metro area from Moyer. They made several tasteless changes to the Rose in it’s waning years such as cutting down the parking lot trees, and dividing up several of the auditoriums into tiny 50-100 seat shoeboxes to try and pack in more films. It was poorly done and looked like hell. I attended the opening week festivities of the Division 13 in fall 1997. By then I was a senior in high school and they were showing the previous summer’s movies for free. Thus, I sat through a packed screening of Men In Black (the third time I had seen it) with about a half dozen friends. Today, as a film buff I tend to avoid corporate cinemas so I rarely go to the Division 13, an average of once a year, but when I do I still think of the Rose Moyer
It has been several years now but I still cannot get used to seeing that home depot there. The north side is where the entrance used to be. Mall 205 cinemas was never anything special. I believe it was a 3 plex from the late 1970s when the mall was built and had one fairly nice auditorium and two small unremarkable ones. The lobby was typical of the period with hues of orange and gold. There is an old episode of cops from the late 1980s where you can see the entrance in the backbround as someone is busted in a sting in the parking lot. My mom took me to see Police Academy 5 there in 1988 and later I saw Speed in the big auditorium.
Hey all, my brother just tipped me off about this website and boy am I glad he did. I could talk and talk about this theater. I grew up in the Portland suburbs and have never been so angry about a theater closing as I was about the Eastgate! I was furious! My first memory of the Eastgate was going to see Three Fugitives in the big auditorium with my parents in 1988. Then as I grew older and became more of a film buff this theater became my first choice in seeing any big movie premiere. Several of my friends and I would go out of our way to see movies here, preferably always in the big auditorium because of the state of the art sound that was seemingly always being upgraded or fine tuned. I got to where I believed the Eastgate was one of the few theaters that presented a film with the sight and sound it was meant to be seen in. Stargate, Forrest Gump, Apollo 13, The River Wild, Independence Day, Men In Black, Air Force One, Any Given Sunday, All three Stars Wars films when they were rereleased in 1997, and then Episode I in 1999 are just a few of my memories from this theater. My parents and I also saw Titanic there on opening day. I still laugh because I remember going to see Phenomenon in the smaller theater on the immediate right while ID4 was still playing in auditorium one and you could hear the dialogue and explosions on one side of the lobby from the THX and Digital sound, something that I loved but an elderly lady nearby dispised. What baffles me, and perhaps Brian can explain if he still follows this site, is I watched Regal upgrade the sound repeatly and replace all of the seats as well, in the years leading up to the close making it a modern cinema. Meanwhile the lobby and exterior rock finish retained it’s history… my point is this theater was still WIDELY popular and viable. It was not obsolete such as many of the three and four screen-late 1970s- mono sound cinemas Regal shuttered in the late 1990s as it built new stadiums, so it seems an awful business decision to me to close. I still shake my head everytime I drive past the “church.” Froggy if you are still trying to acquire this theater, or if anyone ever does, I am sure there is a multitude of film historians in Portland with fond memories like mine who would be happy to pitch in time, money, volunteer, do whatever to help bring back this lost gem!