D & R Theatre

205 South I Street,
Aberdeen, WA 98520

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Showing 126 - 150 of 164 comments

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on December 29, 2005 at 5:26 pm

Hooray, At last the work can now begin!!!

54norm on December 29, 2005 at 2:54 pm


inkswamp on December 26, 2005 at 6:42 am

Don’t know if any of you are interested in seeing this or not, but I used Photoshop to do a digital restoration of the D&R Theater from my own photos and I’ve posted it on my Flickr account.


After digital restoration:

Nighttime digital restoration:

And here’s an animated version of those:

jkruft on December 23, 2005 at 7:59 am

John Carlberg, who was part of Nomah Productions in the D&R from roughly 84-87 now lives in NY. He might be a good source of information. His email is , if you’re interested. Although Ron has already done a remarkable job of providing info. Also, Mark Richey still lives in the area, I believe (BTW, Ron, how are you? It’s been many years! Email me if you like: )

54norm on December 15, 2005 at 5:52 pm

Hi All, Sorry for not updating you sooner, we have had a lot of activity and news recently both good and bad. The Foundation nonprofit status is pending approval by the IRS at this time and we have been informed that could take up to another 60 days as they’re running behind. This is holding up the final purchase of the theater as the seller wants to make sure we are a 501©3 organization before financing. We have very recently been offered the option of purchasing the D&R at a lesser price than originally negotiated if no owner financing is involved. If this could be accomplished it would be the best route by far. The architects are working on updating the blueprints and drawings. This will allow us to include new restrooms, coffee house, beverage & food service areas, art gallery extension and dinner theater accomodations on the balony level. We did have a problem acquiring the organ. The seller and I got our signals mixed as far as his timetable. Just as we found a patron to purchase it the seller again listed it on Ebay without notifying the Foundation. When contacted he apologized and felt it wouldn’t sell as he was asking almost twice as much as he had in the past. It sold ! We’ll focus our efforts on all the many artifacts we already have that folks like Ron Carlson have donated so generously. The main goal at this time is to try and purchase the theater ASAP and not have to wait for the IRS and owner financing. After the holidays we will be posting information on the web site regarding fundraising events starting early 2006. We have also posted pages with mission statement, goals, economic impact and the all important sponsorship page on the Harbor Arts, www.harborartsfoundation.org, web site. Please feel free to contact us via e-mail or phone if anyone would like to partner with us in the financing and/or purchase of the theater. This is the immediate task at hand. As soon as the theater changes hands from present ownership to the foundation we can open the flood gates to the literally hundreds of volunteers and organizations that have expressed interest in donating their time and services. Thank you all for your postings, memories and intense interest in this project. We need your help and together we can make this dream happen! Have a Happy Holiday Season.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on December 14, 2005 at 3:48 pm

Rick, everything I’ve posted is from memory, and research. I worked for Grays Harbor Theatres in the early 1980’s at the D&R, Aberdeen and Harbor Drive-In as a projectionist. I also worked at the 7th St for a short while when Bob Serradel owned it. The D&R was always my favorite theatre so I did a lot of research as a personal project. At the time the place was open there was a lot of old documentation stored in the building so there was always plenty to read and look at. Sadly thats all gone but I’ve tried to relate most of it here and on the pages for the other theatres on the harbor. I look forward to assisting Harbor Arts at some time in the future when they get things going.

inkswamp on December 12, 2005 at 9:41 am

I’m not sure if anyone is still posting here or reading any of this, but I’m thrilled to hear that the D&R will be brought back to life. I grew up in Aberdeen and saw many movies there as a kid and loved this place (as well as The Aberdeen Theater and the 7th Street Theater.) I absolutely loathe the modern multiplex box-in-a-mall approach to movie-going, and I think it’s because I was spoiled with lavish places like the D&R.

I haven’t lived in Aberdeen for 12 years but my wife and I return a couple times a year to visit with relatives and friends. Each time I’ve passed the D&R during those visits, I would think how its days were clearly numbered and promised that I would come and photograph it at some point. I just shot a ton of photos this weekend of the exterior to put a few on my Flickr page located here if anyone is interested. I’ll be adding more over the next week.

Anyway, big kudos to Dave and Harbor Arts Foundation for taking on this task. I hope all goes well and look forward to standing in line there once again. :)

Ron, just curious, how do you know so much about the history of the D&R? I’m fascinated by the stuff you’ve posted here. Do you have a source or is this from your own memory? Either way, thanks for sharing it.

kateymac01 on November 29, 2005 at 11:35 am

How are things coming, Dave? Hadn’t been to your Web site in awhile, and I was glad to see the rendering for the completed project and additional photos of the theater’s interior.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on October 17, 2005 at 5:43 pm

As best as I can tell the D&R was always connected with FOX in some way. While the theater was locally built and owned, FOX or one of it’s subsidiaries provided product for the theater through out it’s history. The last remodel in the 1940’s even resembles the decorations being done in FOX theaters. The only time it wasn’t connected with FOX was during its days with Grays Harbor Theaters at the end of it’s first run life.

William on October 15, 2005 at 6:09 am

The D&R was operated by Evergreen State Amusement Corp. which was one of the subsidiaries of Fox West Coast Theatres, which was later National Theatres and later known as National General Theatres.

ghamilton on October 11, 2005 at 3:35 pm

As someone who drove by the 3 great theaters in Aberdeen and Hoquiam hundreds of times from 80-87,I’m thrilled that something good is happening.I contrast this to the horror that has unfolded over the beautiful DuPage Theater.Keep us posted,by the way are you a 501 yet,so we can contribute from anywhere in the country?

kateymac01 on October 10, 2005 at 9:53 pm

From the photos posted on your Web site, it looks like you have your work cut out for you. Wow.

KenLayton on October 10, 2005 at 6:44 am

Jack Ondracek (owner/operator of the Rodeo drive-in Theater in Port Orchard, Wash) used to work at this theater. He can provide you with some more information.

54norm on October 9, 2005 at 3:47 pm

Hi All, The original theater organ was up for auction on E-Bay, but didn’t sell. We were fortunate enough to find the individual who owns it and have made arrangements to purchase it for the D&R rebuild. It won’t be part of the working theater, but will be part of the museum items located in the lobby area. Also, pictures are available at www.harborartsfoundation.org click on one of the picture links. Ron, it was a pleasure to meet you and show the theater. We look forward to seeing you again. Others who would like to tour the D&R can contact us through the web site e-mail. Thanks Again

KenLayton on October 9, 2005 at 2:24 pm

How about pictures of the interior of this theater. Pictures of the inside of the projection booth would be nice, too.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on October 9, 2005 at 8:05 am

Just had the pleasure of touring the D&R and was pleasently supprised. The building is in very good condition. It will need a complete replacement of all its systems ie: plumbing electrical etc. but that is to be expected. There is a lot of peeling paint but overall very little plaster damage. While Dave and Shaun have there work cut out for them this should prove to be a real gem when they are finished.

explorecrossroads on September 28, 2005 at 9:11 am

The Daily World
View link

The Daily World states “The last known concert there was on May 4, 1984, when Aberdeen’s famous metal rock band Metal Church performed their very first concert there.” Not that the last PERFORMANCE was in 1984, Joe. There is a difference in the world of accuracy.

Here’s the start of the article:
“Some of you may recall the strange affair of the Phantom of the Opera: a mystery never fully explained. We are told ladies and gentlemen, that this is the very chandelier which figures in the famous disaster. Our workshops have restored it … Perhaps we may frighten away the ghost of so many years ago with a little illumination."
— Andrew Lloyd Webber’s "Phantom of the Opera”

It looks as though the chandeliers will rise again inside Aberdeen’s D&R Theater.

For the last 10 weeks, theater buffs Dave TerBush of Ocean Shores and Shaun O'Neal of Aberdeen have been working on a strategy to sweep away the ghosts and bring the historic theater back to life.

A non-profit organization they founded called the Harbor Arts Foundation purchased the theater at 207 South I St. from owner Leo Brutsche of Auburn for an undisclosed sum recently.

Brutsche, who owns the Becker Building among other places around the Harbor, had been using the dilapidated theater as a warehouse for his other businesses. Piles of boxes, neon signs and just plain junk are everywhere inside, making the interior appear more like a mechanic’s garage than the former home of live theater, orchestra concerts, silent movies and, later, “talkies.”

When TerBush and O'Neal purchased the property and the adjacent parking lot, they said Brutsche was so impressed with their enthusiasm that he immediately donated 53 percent of the sale price back to their arts foundation.

TerBush and O'Neal say they hope to have at least part of the facility open by late 2007. But it comes with a lofty price tag.

They estimate it will take between $1.5 million and $2 million to get the facility going again because of heavy damage to its interior.

54norm on September 26, 2005 at 3:07 pm

We’re amazed at the wonderful history lesson of the D&R you are providing. The Harbor Arts Foundation will be posting several upcoming meetings and events on the web site soon, www.harborartsfoundation.org and invite all with stories and interest in the restoration of the theater to please attend.
Dave TerBush can be reached at
Shaun O'Neal can be reached at

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on September 25, 2005 at 5:14 am

Does Harbor Arts Foudation have an e-mail address?

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on September 24, 2005 at 5:17 am

After Grays Harbor Theatres closed due to compitition from Luxury Theaters in the Mall, a young couple re opened the theater and ran it for about a year. That is when the video games were installed and after that failed Nomah Productions took over. Nomah was comprised of John Carlberg, Mark Richey, Ron Carlson, Mark actually lived in the theater during this time. All three of us worked for Grays Harbor Theatres and wanted to see the D&R stay open. Since movies were not an option John wanted to use the theater for live performances. Unfortunatly funds ran out and the group disbanded and the owner Grace Dolan (daughter of builder Ed Dolan) gave the theater to the city of Aberdeen who sealed the building up and then sold it to the current owner who is now selling to Harbor Arts.

KenLayton on September 23, 2005 at 7:44 pm

I worked for Capitol Amusement and we had a couple of video arcade games in the theater during it’s last year of operation as a movie theater.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on September 23, 2005 at 4:49 pm

There are also pictures of the theater in all of it’s incarnations in the Jones Photo collection. If the collection is still in Aberdeen, Harbor Arts may want to get copy’s. There are exterior and complete interior photo shoots of the theater in it’s original form (1920’s) first remodel (1930’s) and final remodel,(1940’s). These would be invaluable as the blue prints are not exactly what was built originally. During construction there were some changes made in reguards to interior decoration. Also Joe Kruft is correct 87 was about the time that the place closed as I was also a part of Nomah and enjoyed many of those productions.

jkruft on September 23, 2005 at 5:34 am

Despite the Daily World assertion, the last performance was not in 1984. A theatre company known as Nomah Productions, founded by John Carlberg, mounted approximately 10 play in the space, until around 1987. I was an actor in many of the productions. It was a marvelous place to perform, and explore. I am thrilled to hear of its restoration. I have some pictures, too, if interested: Best of luck. And I look forward to seeing the finished product when I’m next in Aberdeen.

54norm on September 15, 2005 at 8:44 am

Harbor Arts new web site is www.harborartsfoundation.org . This site will help keep everybody up to date on the restoration of the D & R theater. Remember, the vertical stripes and art deco ticket booth were part of the theater’s redesign of the 1940’s. We are interested in bringing it back to the original style of the 1920’s so the horizontal stripes, signage and built-in ticket booth will be part of the new rebuild. As mentioned, we will be incorporating a museum within the theater to place items honoring the D & R’s past. Please don’t hesitate contacting us if you would like to be part of this project.

Ron Carlson
Ron Carlson on September 14, 2005 at 5:12 am

The original box office was on the outside of the theater but was built into the wall between the entrance doors like the 7th St theater. The current box office is actually the 3rd one to grace the theater. The current marquee is also the 3rd one. The original was quite simple, but there was a verticle blade sign running down the front of the building and there were no verticle stripes on the front. While the original signage did not have the glitz of the later additions, I think a nicely restored facade would be good.