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Box Office 425-258-6766 Tuesday through Saturday 11:30 am to 4:30 pm. Sunday-Monday Closed. 2911 Colby Ave. Everett WA. 98201  (Map

All Ages Venue for Theatre Produced Shows. Free Parking in EverPark Garage corner of Hoyt and Hewitt. After 5:00 PM Fridays and Weekends.

Our Monthly Schedule at a Glance

 

The theater had been essentially gutted, with wreckage from the upper sections tumbled in upon the main floor. However, except for the very top of the flies, the exterior walls were essentially intact. Even today bricked-up window openings and doorways dating from 1901 are clearly visible from the alley and rear of the structure. Hidden within are fragments of original ornamental plaster which still cling to these bearing walls.

While minimal demolition was done on the north, south and east walls, the entire west front was torn away to be replaced by a clean, formal Renaissance facade. Author of this new look was an elusive Seattle designer named Fitzherbert Leather. At various times employed as an illustrator, a publisher, an architect, a fruit exchange manager, vice-president of a promotional organization and accountant for an ad agency, Leather showed himself to be a deft manipulator of formal design elements. He discreetly incorporated garlands of terra cotta into the buff brick face, which was otherwise almost severe in its simplicity. Relieving the classical symmetry was a new entrance in the northwest corner. From the foyer a ramp to the mezzanine and balcony swept majestically upward to the south

Winter didn't delay the process of reconstruction. A contract for $106,500 was awarded in mid-February, though the final expenditure, including furnishings and equipment, approached a quarter of a million dollars.

A great deal of publicity was given the 68-foot steel girder which was to support the rebuilt balcony and mezzanine. While the original main balcony had rested upon posts set in the main floor, the new steel span, anchored to footings extending 23 feet below the auditorium floor, eliminated the need for sight-obstructing uprights. At 17 tons, it was reportedly the largest single piece of structural steel ever erected in the county.

The man in charge of raising it into place was George Wallace. He was working high on a scaffold on a Monday afternoon in mid-March when the chain hoist broke. Thirty thousand pounds of steel crashed downward. Wallace's left arm was severed by the chain and he plunged 30 feet into the basement. By some miracle he not only survived but walked to the ambulance. In spite of the mishap, the project proceeded on schedule.

Statistics deluged the local newspapers during construction. The building utilized nearly 250,000 pounds of steel, more than 50 tons of it to reinforce the concrete that comprised the auditorium and mezzanine floors and the new roof. Thirteen tons of steel went into the gridiron over the stage and, as noted, the balcony girder weighed in at 34,000 pounds.

A gilded proscenium arch measured 28 feet wide by 24 feet high. Audiences would bask in the warmth generated by a $22,000 Birchfield boiler. The second balcony, sometimes called the "peanut gallery," was a twisted shambles after the fire and was not rebuilt. The new main balcony extended 20 feet further toward the proscenium which was, in turn, shifted about 10 feet eastward to allow extra seating. The seating capacity remained at the 1901 figure of 1200.

At 30 by 68 feet, the reconstructed stage was a bit smaller than the original but still, in the words of the management, "suitable for any size or description of road show or legitimate production that has yet come west." Among the ten dressing rooms beneath the stage was an "animal compartment," a special shower stall with a tethering ring to accommodate performing beasts like seals and ponies.

Though ample provision was made for live stage performances, the feature presentation for the grand opening on Friday, August 29th, 1924 was a movie called "The Reckless Age." This reopening was considerably less formal than the corresponding event in 1901. The mayor and other dignitaries did participate in an official evening ceremony, but the theater had really been opened for a matinee at 1:00 the same afternoon and turn-away crowds opted for an early look. D.G. Inverarity, brought in by the Fox organization as interim manager and troubleshooter, was on hand to extend a personal welcome.

Opening night the stage crew found a very personal method of marking the event. They slid into the narrow space behind the main switchboard and penciled an inscription: "House opened Aug. 29, 1924. Carpenter M. Forslund. Electrician F. Tucker. Props E. Lemon. Flyman H. Olson."

All seasoned veterans, this crew embodied a substantial amount of local theater history. Milt Forslund, nicknamed "Swede," was working at the old Acme Theatre as early as 1912. He died at age 79 in 1966. Fred Tucker began as a stagehand at the Rose vaudeville theater during World War One, but his training in electrical systems helped establish him as stage electrician and eventually projectionist at the Everett Theatre. Ernest E. Lemon was a charter member of Local 180, Everett's stage employees union organized in March of 1910. He worked for the Everett Theatre as a bill poster as far back as 1904, but soon advanced to the role of properties manager. Harry O. Olson, also a charter member of Local 180, worked at the Rose Theatre as well as the Everett, in charge of the vast complex of ropes and weights that controlled the curtains and backdrops.

The ground floor facade of the "New Everett Theatre" was finished in gleaming glazed white brick with onyx baseboards. The color scheme inside was predominantly cream and gold tones with touches of blue and rose. "Electric gardens" flanked the proscenium arch above the gilded grillwork of the organ chambers.

The new auditorium was in fact an acoustically sophisticated elliptical shell fitted within the north, south and east walls of the original 1901 structure. The theater organ, with its arsenal of special effects, resonated through the building as if the structure itself was a part of the musical instrument. Not only was the organ the basic day-to-day workhorse which provided accompaniment for the movies, it was also used for musical prologues and was regularly featured in matinee concerts.

There were still live performances at the theater, most significantly imaginative prologues used to introduce the feature films. This proved to be the forte of the manager who took over from D.G. Inverarity a year after the reopening. Raymond E. "Chuck" Charles came to Everett from Portland, where he had been managing the Columbia for Universal West Coast Theaters. Half a century after the fact he still took great pleasure reminiscing about the splendid prologues he produced at the Everett, especially one South Seas number with simulated underwater choreography. Charles used children from the dance classes of local instructor Betty Spooner, dangling some of them from invisible wires behind artfully decorated scrim. When properly lit it made them appear to be swimming underwater with fish and seahorses.

Live feature presentations appeared at intervals as well. George Arliss performed as "Disraeli" shortly after the reopening and he was followed by the farewell tour appearance of ballet star Anna Pavlova in February of 1925. In August of that year a large production of Sheridan's "The Rivals" starring Mrs. Fiske and Chauncey Olcott was staged. But the theater essentially returned to the motion picture format initiated back in 1918. During the reconstruction process the Apollo Theatre on Hewitt Avenue served as the city's first-run movie house, but as soon as it was up and operating again, the Everett Theatre resumed its dominant position and began block booking major studio releases.

The local entertainment business, which had seen as many as eight theaters competing in 1915, had settled by the mid-Twenties into a stable group of movie houses controlled by Star Amusement. Three years after the Everett reopened, Star acquired the Rose vaudeville house, the sole surviving independent, and remodeled it into the Granada. In 1929 the Balboa was erected on Wetmore Avenue. Though it was just another theater at the time, this completed the trio of allied movie houses, the Everett, Balboa and Granada, that was to endure for nearly a quarter of a century.

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