Bing Crosby Theater

901 W. Sprague Avenue,
Spokane, WA 99204

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Opened February 22, 1915 as a movie theater called the Clemmer Theater. Designed in a restrained Neo-Classical style by noted theater architect Edwin W. Houghton, the Clemmer Theatre originally sat 800 patrons and boasted a 4/32 Kimball organ, one of the most impressive instruments in the city. Among the Clemmer’s first musicians to helm the organ was Jessie Crawford, eventually recognized as one of the great silent film organists of all time.

In 1988, the movie house underwent a substantial restoration and the building eventually became known as the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center, or “Met”, for short. In 2006, the theatre was renamed Bing Crosby Theater.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 10 comments)

Divinity
Divinity on December 5, 2004 at 11:42 pm

How wonderful it is to have a virtual tour of the auditorium accompanied by such lovely music on the home page.

telemundo
telemundo on December 10, 2004 at 9:25 am

that a cool website maybe should has more website do tour like that

kateymac01
kateymac01 on May 5, 2005 at 12:04 pm

From the Met’s Web site:

Built in 1915 by local developer August Paulsen, the Old Clemmer Theater was considered state-of-the-art in its day, seating nearly 800 patrons. The theater represents a turning point in mass entertainment, when vaudeville was relinquishing top billing to silent films and the era of lavishly embellished movie palaces was about to begin. Designed by noted theater architect Edwin W. Houghton, The Clemmer embodied the restrained Neoclassicism of these traditional movie houses. It would come to be known as The State Theater in later years. Inland Northwest residents lined the streets in anticipation to see “Casablanca,” “The Godfather,” “Gone With the Wind” and thousands of other first-run movies.

William
William on May 4, 2006 at 2:55 pm

When this theatre was known as the State Theatre it was operated by Evergreen State Amusement Corp., which was part of the Fox Theatres chain and later known as National Theatres then National General Theatres.

Patsy
Patsy on December 10, 2006 at 1:09 pm

This a.m. on CBS Sunday Morning they did a segment on what will be called the Bing Crosby Theatre which is now the Metropolitan Performing Arts Center. The following article gives details of the plans for the name change. View link

spokanetomcat
spokanetomcat on May 5, 2007 at 6:46 pm

Here is a history web site for this theater. Comes with pictures too.
View link.jpg&imgrefurl=http://www.historylink.org/results.cfm%3Fkeyword%3D%2520Performing%2520Arts%26refine_keyword%3D%26count%3D1%26perpage%3D40%26searchfield%3Dtopics%26search_library%3D%26searchletter%3D%26start%3D%26end%3D&h=201&w=260&sz=13&hl=en&start=4&tbnid=Buj5n2ikrZ85TM:&tbnh=87&tbnw=112&prev=/images%3Fq%3DHippodrome%2BTheater%2BSpokane%2BWA%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on January 15, 2009 at 6:12 pm

From Boxoffice magazine, January 1960:

Bud Schmidt of the State at Spokane, Wash. used the “girls only” gimmick to get a running start with “Yellowstone Kelly”. Billing it as the “Kookie Matinee”, Schmidt had 350 avid fans of Edd “Kookie” Byrnes waiting at the box office when it opened at 10 a.m. The promotion was carried out with the city’s top-rated teenage radio station.

rivest266
rivest266 on May 24, 2010 at 4:05 pm

February 22nd, 1915 amusement page: View link
no big ad for this theatre.

Mikeyisirish
Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 8:47 am

A 2012 photo can be seen here and here.

Croonsome1
Croonsome1 on August 3, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Pretty crazy, Bing actually dated my great grandmother Florida who was also a singer and a dancer at the met theater. He had his ACTUAL first born son in this relationship. My grandfather who ended up with the last name Scott instead of Crosby because he had left.

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