Hollywood Theatre

4122 NE Sandy Boulevard,
Portland, OR 97212

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Located along Portland’s Northeast Sandy Boulevard, in the heart of the business district bearing its name, the Hollywood Theatre has provided family entertainment since it opened as a vaudeville theater on July 17, 1926.

With 1,500 seats, the Hollywood Theatre is one of the most ornate neighborhood theaters in the Pacific Northwest. Its exterior, with a beautiful Byzantine, rococo tower, resembles something to be found on William Randolph Hearst’s San Simeon estate.

Although still standing, the Hollywood Theatre spent the last 30 years quietly slipping into a state of disrepair, operating as a nearly forgotten discount movie house.

In April of 1997, the Oregon Film & Video Foundation purchased the theater from ACT III Theatres for the purpose of preservation and gradual renovation. The Hollywood re-opened in November of 1997 and has once again become a vital part of the Hollywood District in which it’s located.

Contributed by Tony Daniel

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

William on September 17, 2008 at 1:07 pm

In some of the 1980 vintage shots of the vertical sign you can still see the neon tubing from it’s Cinerama days.

kencmcintyre on November 30, 2008 at 5:32 pm

Here is a 1956 photo from Life Magazine:

spectrum on December 10, 2010 at 11:23 pm

Don’t know how far they’ve gotten with the renovation, but the outside has been nicely redone – all painted white with trim, kind of a stucco design. / mission revival. Strange feature about this theatre, the auditorium extends straigh back from the street, but the main facade/marquee is on the corner of the building, despite all the street frontagethe building has. The foyer/mezzanine simply backs up against the sidewalk. Looks like they pushed that right up to the sidewalk to extend the auditorium and the only place to put the entrance was on the corner under the curved marquee (which is flat against the building). Interesting effect and I’m glad they’ve been making progress on restoration.

kaydee22 on January 11, 2011 at 9:50 pm

I worked as an “usherette” along with my girlfriends who went to high school at both Marycrest High School (now the Western States Orthopedic College) and US Grant High School, in 1966-1967. Quite the memories. Wearing a replica race car driver helmet while seating patrons to watch Steve McQueen in ‘Grand Prix’ for example. Balcony duty for more than 2 months while the Sound of Music ran for record crowds. Cleaning the popcorn machine, etc. etc. It was quite the instituation back in the 1960’s and should be preserved as what the theatres were at that time as well, not just when it was first built. Part of a true Americana, much like the Alberta Theater where we watched Ma & Pa Kettle on Saturdays for 25cents!

canibfrankwithyou on September 21, 2011 at 1:51 pm

One of my coleagues and I drove non stop from Toledo Ohio in the mid 70’s to deliver the new projection equipment for the triplexing of the theatre. Two sets of “EPRAD” SWORD Systems were installed to accomodate the twinning of the balcony level. The new projectors were designed to provide fully automated operation of the film presention.

Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois
Ret. AKC (NAC) CCC Bob Jensen, Manteno, Illinois on May 24, 2012 at 4:56 pm

Does the main theatre still have its CINERAMA Screen?

Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 12:58 pm

A few photos can be seen here, here and here.

Giles on March 23, 2015 at 4:58 pm

did anyone check out last weekend’s 70mm screening of ‘2001’ ?

pdx66 on June 7, 2015 at 4:42 pm

Paint and tri-plexing altered the Hollywood so much over the years that to do an authentic restoration of the facility will most likely not happen, given the current owners. This being due to costs of refurbishment, current economic realities in the performance facility demographics and operating costs of Portland and the desired use of the building today. Much like the ex-Paramount, the Hollywood’s elabourate 1920’s charm resides outside of the auditorium side of the building. Given its location, and the costs and labour required for authentic restoration, the Hollywood in many ways is probably gone forever. Only the Bagdad and Elsinore Theatre in Salem approach what could be called “authentic” restorations. The Elsinore was well-preserved over the years before being worked over and the Bagdad was not a terribly ambitious project when it was built. With all due respect, $100,000 in 1927 would have been considered an “economy-priced” theatre, given it’s size. Indeed, the comparably-sized Elsinore and Capitol Theatres in Salem and Portland’s Hollywood Theatre came in with price tags hovering in the $250,000-plus range.

Gary Lacher and Steve Stone wrote a book called The Theatres of Portland which has a number of good photos of the Hollywood—inside and out. Some of us who remember these places from many years ago find the book at once fascinating, but also painful because what does survive in Portland is very little. However, once one realises that these places are usually—no matter what city they are in—titanic projects, then we must be thankful for what little we have left—which I am. At least a few of the more important buildings survive. If economics ever dictate that these places can be restored to their former glory, the foundation and “canvas” upon which to do it are still there.

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