UA 150

2131 6th Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98121

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Showing 1 - 25 of 65 comments

shayd
shayd on May 16, 2018 at 4:24 am

I used to work here as the second run films and then lousy first run films were being played right up to the final couple of Film festivals before it closed as the Cinedome. ( Spike and Mike’s Twisted Animation Film Festival and the Black Film Fetival. ) 1991 or 1992? After that I think it became the UA again. We also ran Star Wars for a week and the place was packed everynight.

Since I had the keys to the place, one of the things I liked to do at night when we finished was explore the place as well. I don’t recall the square part off the dome, but I think that was a machine shop up top for repairing things. The 150 side was a pretty nice 75mm projector and screen that could have given the Cinerama a run for its money. When I was there the 70 side was a pretty sad 35mm theatre that was small and miserable. One night we offered the only two people who showed up to watch a movie on that side dinner and tickets to come back another night so we could clean it up and go home early.

I also recall that there was a gantry between the 70 and 150 projection booths so the projectionist could take a short stroll to keep them both running. Ray the projectionist said that the 70mm projector was pretty great and that there was only one other like it left in London. No idea of the truth to that. I do have a few 70mm frames of 2001 and West Side Story, but I managed to lose my one frame of Star Wars sadly.

A shame that the place was torn down and not saved.

Geepers
Geepers on June 28, 2016 at 5:22 am

Here’s a pic of the marquee from August 1993: http://www.incinerama.com/ua150s.jpg

Seattleprojectionist
Seattleprojectionist on June 16, 2016 at 6:21 pm

One of many new high rise residential towers now occupies the entire block.

Coate
Coate on April 13, 2016 at 6:24 am

As cited in my retrospective article, the UA Cinema 150 held the longest-running engagement of “The Empire Strikes Back.”

Seattleprojectionist
Seattleprojectionist on May 4, 2015 at 1:27 am

I worked here a few times as a fill in projectionist in the early 1980’s. I was the relief projectionist at GCC’s King Cinema located directly across 6th Avenue from the UA. I happened to walk by the site in the early evening on the day they demolished the building. The pile of rubble had that famous “Old Movie Theatre Smell”.

paulnelson
paulnelson on June 16, 2014 at 5:37 am

I remember the dramatic striped waterfall curtain covering the huge ultra widescreen. It was alternating pale tan and crimson and went up in a vertical manner. What a dramatic theatre. It made even bad movies likable or somewhat likable. Nothing like it anymore.

almajose
almajose on June 16, 2014 at 4:52 am

I (like emmyathome) also worked at this great theater in heydey of the early 80’s. I remember Mr Shonk and Nick(asst mgr). Memories of this theater come to mind while I’m watching “Sounder” on TCM, saw this movie w/my 6th grade class at the UA 150, I remember the cozy side balcony seats!

tdickensheets
tdickensheets on October 6, 2013 at 3:13 am

I saw Star Wars back in 1977 at this move.

paulnelson
paulnelson on July 1, 2013 at 4:16 am

I saw 2001 at the Cinerama in Seattle in Cinerama in it’s original run. Great of course. I may have played the UA 150 too at some point later. Blade Runner played the Cinerama orginally too I think but it also played the 150 later on. Years later as I saw it there too. I also saw it years later at the Cinerama with a spacial lense that looked like Cinerama process. Wow. In the 80’s. Nice the Cinerama is still alive. UA 150 should be too. Downtown losing its soul.

paulnelson
paulnelson on July 1, 2013 at 4:16 am

I saw 2001 at the Cinerama in Seattle in Cinerama in it’s original run. Great of course. I may have played the UA 150 too at some point later. Blade Runner played the Cinerama orginally too I think but it also played the 150 later on. Years later as I saw it there too. I also saw it years later at the Cinerama with a spacial lense that looked like Cinerama process. Wow. In the 80’s. Nice the Cinerama is still alive. UA 150 should be too. Downtown losing its soul.

kurtisaurus
kurtisaurus on May 28, 2012 at 2:49 am

Nice to find a site talking about the UA 150 as well as many other treasured cinemas of the past. This particular theater is forever locked into my memory by my first viewing of Star Wars. I think I saw Alien there too back in 79. I remember seeing Die Hard many a time over a summer when it was running at the discount rate. I was so saddened when it was knocked down during the dot com boom only to go unused after the crash. Finally now it’s being built into something at least but I’ll always miss it.

paulnelson
paulnelson on May 26, 2012 at 2:56 am

The 150 had a huge, curved and wide screen and large domed auditorium. Saw Blade Runner there and it was wow! Great sound too. A class act and historic for a modern theatre. Should have been saved.

EricWaldow
EricWaldow on April 30, 2012 at 8:34 am

I grew up in Tacoma. Mom used to take my brother and I to the Pacific Science Center or the Woodland Park Zoo. We were riding the monorail one time and saw the marquee sign that said “2001” was playing. We begged her to take us. I was bored to tears; was expecting spaceships and got monkeys. (Saw the list of movies in a previous comment; this must have been ‘74.) But I never forgot it.

Twenty-odd years later, I was living in Seattle. By then I’d seen the movie on TV (uncut, no commercials, at least once) and come to appreciate it. Even read the book. I saw it was playing someplace downtown, and I hadn’t seen it on a big screen since that first time, so I went. I was amazed that it turned out to be the same theater. I sat in the same part of the theater, maybe the same seat. I noticed things about the movie I’d never seen before. Combined with the feeling of personal nostalgia, it was one of the best movie experiences of my life.

emmyathome
emmyathome on June 3, 2011 at 8:03 am

I have to add my comments even if no one reads this. My first job was at the UA. The movie playing at the time was “Quest for Fire”, gotta love Ron Pearlman. I worked the 24 hour showing of ‘Jedi’. “ET” played on the 70 side, until we got the 70mm print. Mr. Shonk (spelling?) was the manager at the time. Oh and the liquer store next door. Removing those persons using the emergency back doors as urinals and or sleeping quarters. Met my husband there, he was a doorman, I worked the counter. Wish I could have gotten even one of the seats or some momento.

ColinMarcoe
ColinMarcoe on January 19, 2011 at 9:27 pm

Interesting! thanks, neeb. I’m tired of seeing that sad empty lot with a lump in my throat over 8 years now! I wish they would hurry up and build something already! That was, after all the original plan for tearing the theater down!

neeb
neeb on January 19, 2011 at 9:08 am

For those who care…

Proposal: View link

Permit status:

View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 13, 2010 at 11:16 am

CWalczak: It was the drawing you linked to that made me realize that this theater was probably a Vincent Raney design. That’s his drawing style. The attribution in the AIA Directory then came up immediately in a Google search. I don’t know how I missed it before.

droben
droben on October 13, 2010 at 9:30 am

Syufy/Century never owned or managed the UA Cinema 70-150 aka Sixth Ave Cinedome. In the early 90s after UA vacated the ‘dome’ for the first time, two Seattleites, both with film exhibition background, one of them a good friend of mine, took over the lease of the UA and the King across the street. Vowing to make going to the movies fun again, the large theaters (the 70 seated 500, the 150 about 800 and the King 900) were programmed eclectically with a mix of of first run Hollywood product, 70mm festivals, week-long salutes to directors (one such salute to Stanley Kubrick was truly memorable featuring nearly every film of his career up to that time). Two of the three cinemas (the 150 and the King) were outfitted with 70mm six-track Dolby, and all three theaters featured large screens, especially the 150. Prices at the snack bar were incredibly reasonable with just one size popcorn priced at $1 and candy costing just a bit more than the grocery stores. My friend even got a local phone company to lower the price of a phone call (remember, this was before cell phones) from 50 cents to ten cents. Although the big-studio Hollywood films shown there were for the most part lesser product (mostly from Warner Brothers or Fox), the Cindedome won a reletively small but very devoted following. Due to the varied programming, there was almost always something to see on one of the screens each week and often more than once a week. Perhaps the crowning achievement of the Dome’s history (about three years) was a week-long revival of Star Wars in glorious 70mm showing in the same theater (the 150) where it had originally played for over a year. The theater sold out all performances and, if my memory is correct, that booking may have been the first of many Star Wars revivals across the country for the benefit of local charities.

Alas, the dream didn’t last. Studios were increasingly ignoring these great theaters and my friend was finding it more difficult to book Hollywood films. At the same time, widespread use of VCRs was ruining the repertory business and in 1994 (I think), they were forced to shut down. UA took over the 70-150 again and ran it into the ground as a dollar house before finally giving up on it in 1999 (or so). The King sat vacant for several years before a local jazz club owner turned it into the King Cat Theater.

So that’s a brief history of the Sixth Avenue Cinedome. Most people today probably would draw blank stares when asked about it, but for those who knew about it, it was one of Seattle’s great cinematic treasures for three glorious years.

As for use of the term “Cinedome?” My friend asked me about using it, and I advised that Syufy marketed many of their theaters under that name and that there might be legal issues. I don’t know if he checked with his attorney, but the name was used and he never heard a peep from the boys in California.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on October 13, 2010 at 4:22 am

I always had wondered if this theater might have been a Vincent Raney design; thanks, Joe, for confirming that it was. If you look at the architect’s sketch and compare the dome’s design to just about any of the Cinedomes in California and elsewhere, it is virtually identical to those, though, as built, it looks like metal plates were used to cover it instead of using different colored shingles to create the starburst pattern as is/was the case with most of the Cinedomes. That probably was a good idea, considering how much rain Seattle gets. It also appears, looking at the marquee anyway, that this theater may also have been known as the Sixth Avenue Cinedome in its later years. Did it ever come under Syufy management?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on October 13, 2010 at 12:22 am

Love the Marquee shot,Geepers.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 12, 2010 at 11:36 pm

The design of this theater is credited to architect Vincent G. Raney in his listing in an edition of the AIA’s American Archtiects Directory.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on October 12, 2010 at 6:47 pm

No, Colin, it was my fault; I meant to use this link, which will bring the picture up directly: View link

ColinMarcoe
ColinMarcoe on October 12, 2010 at 6:38 pm

Oops, my bad the drawing is there… you just need to scroll to photo #32.

ColinMarcoe
ColinMarcoe on October 12, 2010 at 6:10 pm

CWalczak, that is a photo of the Admiral Twin Theater in West Seattle, not an Architect’s drawing of the UA Cinema.

CSWalczak
CSWalczak on October 8, 2010 at 5:18 am

Architect’s drawing of the theater: View link