7414 Wisconsin Avenue,
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Opened as the State Theatre in the 1920’s, it was renovated in an Art Deco style in 1940 by Bethesda architect V.T.H. Bien, with interior decoration by Paramount Decorating Co. It was renamed Bethesda-Hiser Theatre. It was a single-screen theatre while the Baronet West was a twin built in 1975 several blocks from its namesake. The KB Baronet Theatre, with its 498 seats and no concession stand, was relatively small – compared to other theatres in the area such as the KB Bethesda, KB Silver, KB Flower, KB Langley – but very popular as it often had “exclusive” bookings.
In the mid-1970’s, it played “Save the Tiger”, “Bloom in Love”, “The New Land”, “Blazing Saddles”, “Dog Day Afternoon”, “Uptown Saturday Night”, “Young Frankenstein”, and “White Dawn” among others. Many of these bookings were either exclusive or limited within the Greater D.C. Metro area. “Blazing Saddles” and “Young Frankenstein” each played for 22+ weeks grossing $300,000 and $350,000 respectively in 1974 dollars!
While the theatre lacked a lobby of any appreciable size as well as a concession stand – a temporary one was installed for the run of “Young Frankenstein” – it did have a variety of vending machines – a small plain popcorn was $.40($.10 more for butter). Among the theatre’s charms was a full stage with recessed lights and the aforementioned organ. After years of restoration, the organ was used for select bookings of old silent films with live organ accompaniment.
“The Omen” was among the last “big-budget” films to play there. The very last booking was “The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington”. The theatre closed down 23 August 1977 – one week after the death of Elvis Presley! On the site now sits a Hyatt Hotel.
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