Coliseum Theater

500 Pike Street,
Seattle, WA 98101

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Showing 1 - 25 of 38 comments

DavidZornig on March 18, 2018 at 7:31 pm

October 18, 1953 photo added credit Werner Lenggenhager. Courtesy The Seattle Public Library

terrywade on August 13, 2017 at 2:46 pm

The Coliseum Theatre still has the whole top half left where the balcony was, intact above the false ceiling of the store below. I took a tour a few years ago, they keep this part of the old theatre closed off to the public. It just sits there year after year gathering dust seats and all. Someone needs to open the top part for shows and events, it is a large space. I remember as a kid going into this theatre, It had one of the steepest aisles going down to the screen. A big slant when walking to your seat in the dark.

pnelson on October 8, 2016 at 8:31 pm

Interesting about Jaws. I saw both Conan films there and quite a few horror/action films too. Terminator was one of them. It ran a long time too. It was a first run house until the end. The last film was Tremors. This theatre should be restored to its original interior and given a stage for live action theatre. The balcony is still intact and the original ceiling and back wall in the upper reaches.

Coate on April 12, 2016 at 10:45 pm

As cited in my retrospective article, “The Game Changer”, the Coliseum held the longest-running engagement in a single-screen theater of “Jaws.” (There were a few longer runs of “Jaws,” but they were held in a multiplex.)

JackCoursey on October 15, 2015 at 9:01 pm

Only some of the original remains. The interior has been gutted and the marquee removed. It is now just retail space.

markinthedark on September 9, 2015 at 10:11 am

Some newspaper ads uploaded to photos

RobKetcherside on May 16, 2015 at 7:24 am

The Coliseum was known as United Artists Theatre from August 1927 (until some point).

paulnelson on November 4, 2013 at 9:25 pm

Yes the elaborate and grand original Coliseum Theatre was made a lot less elaborate and unique around 1950. Something very dramatic about viewing a film there though. Great curtain design and art deco proscenium. Big wide screen too. The auditorium was not deep but wide and one felt very close to the big screen. Probably still my favorite theatre in Seattle. Hope it is restored someday and used for stage presentations. Seattle needs another stage theatre. It just needs a stage.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on October 6, 2013 at 12:06 pm

What exactly is that supposed to be a link to?

tdickensheets on October 5, 2013 at 7:40 pm

Banana Republic

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 11, 2013 at 5:49 pm

The January 6, 1951, issue of Boxofrfice reported that the Coliseum Theatre in Seattle had reopened following a $250,000 remodeling job that had begun the previous August. Much of the theater’s original detailing, designed in 1915 by architect B. Marcus Priteca, had been removed, as had the dome over the theater’s entrance. The architect who was responsible for this desecration of B. Marcus Priteca’s work was… well, B. Marcus Priteca. I guess that’s one of the perils of having a long career as a theater architect.

CSWalczak on October 9, 2012 at 11:38 am

An exterior photo c. 1929 can be seen here.

paulnelson on May 23, 2012 at 7:19 pm

This great theatre was very elegant but was ruined inside about 1950. All the major elaborate trim was removed. Art deco style was installed. Now it is a store. Some of the ceiling and arch still exists above the store ceiling. The elaborate exterior is still the same and was restored. I never saw the orignal interior but went to the second remodel many times. Had lots of style too.

rivest266 on January 20, 2012 at 4:23 pm

This opened on January 8th, 1916. Grand opening ad in photo section.

CSWalczak on October 7, 2010 at 11:26 pm

We will never see anything quite like this again; a photo taken on opening day in 1915: View link

TLSLOEWS on December 27, 2009 at 5:03 pm

Did “JIMI HENDRiX” ever play there,he was from there.

TLSLOEWS on December 27, 2009 at 5:01 pm

Good Site. Great name for a Theatre.

CSWalczak on November 3, 2009 at 9:30 pm

A history of the Coliseum with pictures both of the theater and its architect can be found here:
View link

seanjung on August 7, 2008 at 3:49 pm

I will always fondly remember this theater. In fact, it was this theater and the Lyric (VOH) in Vancouver that pique my interest in movie palaces of yesteryear. My first visit was to catch a double feature with Bruce Lee’s Enter the Dragon along with Steve McQueen’s Bullitt. I sat there admiring the theater’s ornate interior even though it has seen better days. Another gem was the Emerald.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 7, 2008 at 7:32 pm

That is a fascinating set of photos. Thank you for sharing. I have been wondering for years what, if anything, was left of the original interior.

HowardBHaas on September 14, 2007 at 6:59 pm

Thanks for posting those photos! That really contributes to our understanding of the Coliseum, what it was, and what’s left.

rcflax on September 12, 2007 at 10:19 pm

Here is a link to the pictures I took in the Mezzanine and Balcony areas of the Theatre, that remain above the Banana Republic Store.

HowardBHaas on September 12, 2007 at 4:41 pm

Great report. Thanks so much! You could post on your photos on a free photo website like and that link that gallery to this page. I’m sure many people would love to see them.

Recent exterior photo by Rob Bender:

View link

rcflax on September 4, 2007 at 10:36 pm

I Was in Seattle a couple of weeks ago and lucky enough to get a tour of the remaining intact parts of the Coliseum Theatre.

Accessible only through a hidden door, then up a small circular staircase one arrives at a door leading to a hallway that would have been the far left aisle leading to the landing which runs the width of the theatre between the mezzanine and the balcony.

There is no architectural detail left in the hallway, but high up on the walls of the auditorium some of the elaborate design elements remain.

The top half of the Proscenium arch remains and the detail work forming an elaborate design framing the arch is largely intact, except for the far left side which has crumbled. I was told it fell during an earthquake a number of years ago.

A false ceiling begins at the front of the mezzanine then covers what would have been the orchestra seating, and cuts the proscenium in half. The plaster relief of Dionysus at the apex of the arch still looks out over what remains of his theater. The area below the false ceiling is the Banana Republic Store.

There is a large empty area above and behind where the screen would have been in back of the arch. As I understand it, this theatre did not have a stage so this was possibly the organ loft, but from where I was it did look sort of like a Stage House.

The upper walls of the auditorium are pretty much intact although lower down you can see where much of the ornamentation was removed, leaving some painted areas (a really horrible green color)and some areas with patterns where plaster or woodwork were originally.

The main aisle that would have led from the upper lobby and main staircase (from under the balcony) is walled off. Behind this wall is the high vaulted ceiling of the main store entry area.

The cement risers from the front of the mezzanine to the back of the balcony, which held each row of seats are all intact but there are no seats left. Some of the original Brass from stair handrails is still in place.

The store has used a number of original plaster elements from the theatre in it’s interior design.

The original theatre safe, which had been on display in the store, was recently sold and removed.

This theatre had an elevator, which apparently went from the basement to the balcony. The steel sliding gates to the elevator are still in the basement.

Also in the basement are large rooms where I think that the air handling system and blowers might have been and the entrances to the caves under the seating areas for the return air are intact.

The most wonderful thing down there are the huge neon letters, which used to stand above the marquee and spelled the name of the theatre: COLISEUM. I remember those letters shining brightly in front of the theatre many years ago. Some of the letters are used in the store’s Christmas display each year.

The building has apparently been sold recently, but Banana Republic has a very long term lease so it does not appear that any changes will be made any time soon.

The exterior of the building is nearly perfect, although the front where the marquee would have been was altered a great deal when the store was built inside.

The carved words COLISEUM are still standing tall at the top of the building façade facing the street on each side, although tall trees block most views and if you didn’t know that the lettering was up there you could easily miss it.

I took a few pictures of what is left in the upper reaches of the theatre but don’t know how to post them to this site.

In the entrance to one of the dressing rooms in the main store are framed pictures of the original theatre.

I remember seeing some films at this theatre in the 50’s and 60’s and was so excited that at least a portion of this magnificent Movie Palace still exists.