Bel-Vue Theatre

NE 8th Street and Bellevue Way NE,
Bellevue, WA 98004

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The 550-seat (I’ve also read 560-seat) Bel-Vue Theatre opened on March 20, 1946.

The Bel-Vue Theatre was a very unusual theatre for the Bellevue area by the 1980’s as most of Bellevue is a shopping center with multiplexes. The single-screen Bel-Vue Theatre had circular cushion seating in the lobby, and an older marquee.

I saw “The Tall Blonde Man with One Black Shoe” on a double-feature with “Le Magnifique” here. And quite luckily this is where I was introduced to David Lynch’s “The Elephant Man”. This out-of-place theatre with its older-style interior, curtains, lights, and seating really livened the experience.

The Bel-Vue Theatre was owned by Fred Danz, who ran the local Sterling Recreational Organization chain of theatres.

The Bellevue Film Festival ran for 14 years from 1967 ending in 1981 with the demolition of the Bel-Vue Theatre to make way for expansion of the Bellevue Square Mall.

Contributed by Shade Rupe

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Davidfox on February 14, 2007 at 12:32 pm

The Bel-Vue originally had a readerboard out on Northeast 8th, although the theater sat farther back on the property. The letters were stored under the sign. When the theater was playing the 1955 Jennifer Jones weepy “Good Morning Miss Dove” someone broke into the letter storage and put the f-word between “Morning” and “Miss.” Shortly afterward the sign was moved to the theater building!

almajose on May 15, 2016 at 7:51 pm

I fondly remember working at the “Bel-vue” during it’s last year of life as an art house. It truly beat working at the “commercial” theaters ie. Factoria. I also fondly remember working for Bill Schreib (the manager), I wonder what happened to him. Good memories.

Roman_Holliday on September 21, 2016 at 7:53 am

I worked at the Bel-Vue in the late 1960s. Bellevue Square was still small and quaint in those days. I worked the box office, the concession stand, tore tickets, and whatever else needed doing. I loved it. I don’t remember my boss’s name, but she was formidable. I sometimes had to change out the red plastic letters on the overhead marquee and I was afraid of heights even then. Sometimes I had to run errands at the nearby John Danz Theatre. My favorite memory: was checking ID for the X-rated “The Killing of Sister George”. After making sure that everyone was 18 or over, I took my 17-year-old self into the theatre to enjoy the picture. That film has had a lasting influence on me, as has my short tenure at the late, lamented Bel-Vue.

Seattleprojectionist on September 21, 2016 at 9:11 am

Roman-Holliday: Was your manager’s name perhaps Corrine Strello (unsure of spelling)? Mrs. Strello was a manager for SRO theaters from the late 1950’s until retiring from SRO’s Cinerama in the early 1980’s. I worked for her at the Cinerama. Such things would never be allowed today but her husband managed for a competitor, National General’s Crossroads Cinema in Bellevue.

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