Temple Theatre

47 St. Helens Avenue,
Tacoma, WA 98402

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Billinoregon on June 30, 2014 at 8:00 am

This was the finest theater in Tacoma when I was a kid in Fircrest in the 1960s. I saw “The Sound of Music” and “Lawrence of Arabia” here in first run. It had velvet ropes, uniformed ushers with flashlights, the works. Young people today have no idea what a great theater was like. Glad it still exists.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 18, 2014 at 4:09 pm

Clickable link to the Boxoffice article KenLayton cited. The article says that the architect for the remodeling was Paul Carlsen. Though it calls him a “nationally known theatre architect” I can find nothing else about him on the Internet.

The page also needs a credit for the original architect, A. J. Russell. Ambrose J. Russell had an interesting life and career. Born to missionary parents in India, he studied architecture at the University of Glasgow and at the Ecole de Beaux Arts in Paris. On emigrating to America, he worked in the office of H. H. Richardson, then in Worcester, Massachusetts, Kansas City, and St. Louis. He practiced in partnership with his former schoolmate Bernard Maybeck for a while before settling in Tacoma in 1892. Alone or in various partnerships he designed a number of notable buildings in the northwest, including the Governor’s mansion in Olympia, Washington.

Here is a 1947 view of the Auditorium before its modernization.

This 1964 view shows the later, simplified design.

KenLayton on August 19, 2011 at 10:07 pm

Boxoffice magazine did a story about the theater being remodeled in their January 8, 1949 issue:


markinthedark on May 30, 2009 at 11:40 am

I saw that engagement of Dune in 70mm (all seats $2.00!). Was very impressive.

HowardBHaas on August 31, 2007 at 1:20 pm

8-30-07 photo by Rob Bender of exterior:

markinthedark on August 21, 2007 at 3:16 pm

Saw many films here. In it’s last hurrah as a first run theatre operated under “Galaxy Theatres” it showed the James Bond flick “Octopussy” in the summer of 1983. Later reopened as a second run under “Star Cinemas” it had a few 70mm second run engagements including “Dune” and “2010”. Presentation was impressive.

ghamilton on May 7, 2005 at 2:09 pm

I remember the big hoot during the showing of Final Countdown when the Tomcats splash the Zeros.The cheers and yells were wall-shaking from the mostly military crowd.They were always fun to watch an action flick with,because they were so demonstrative.Now that my tiny sons then are now in Iraq,the memories are especially touching.

ghamilton on May 5, 2005 at 8:15 pm

I’m glad this one is finally listed.I enjoyed going to this venue in the early and mid-80’s.I remember watching a lot of films here in the grand auditorium.My kids liked the grand scale of the place.It was so huge compared to the fancier,but much smaller Roxy-Panteges.It seemed to attract a lot of the military crowd,drawn by the sometimes double features.