Hollywood Theatre

2005 Capitol Street NE,
Salem, OR 97303

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Additional Info

Architects: Day Walter Hilborn, L.L. Jensen

Styles: Spanish Renaissance

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Hollywood Theatre

The Hollywood Theatre was opened March 3, 1927 with Lillian Rich in “Seven Days” & Buster Keaton in “The General”. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer organ which was opened by organist Mary Lebold. It was closed May 25, 1971, and was demolished in June of 1971.

Contributed by Lost Memory

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

kencmcintyre on September 6, 2008 at 10:48 am

This overview of Salem theaters mentions that the Hollywood was demolished as part of an urban renewal project.

Davisdudette on September 21, 2011 at 7:19 pm

I loved the Hollywood Theatre, I and my 3 brothers went every Saturday afternoon for the kids matinee. One child was picked each Sat. Afternoon to hold the flag for the pledge of allegance. That child was usually quiet & behaved. My Uncle ran the movie projectors & concession stand for awhile. During the matinee, we saw 2 movies, a chapter of a continueing thriller (Roy Rogers, Etc) and about 5 cartoons. Mighty Mouse, Etc. Thank you for let me remember the Hollywood Theater.

queen on April 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm

i never knew there was a theater that was called hollywood.(in salem oregon any how) i just didnt know.. a friend of mine told me about it… quit interesting

dallasmovietheaters on May 12, 2015 at 7:02 am

Architected by L.L. Jensen, Williamson’s Hollywood Theatre by John Williamson was a $90,000 Spanish motif theater with Spanish chandeliers with a blue and gold color palette and gold curtain. The Hollywood was announced in 1924 and constructed in 1926 and 1927. It was Salem’s first suburban theater named after its area, the Hollywood District. It opened on 3 March 1927 with “Seven Days” followed by the legendary Oregon-shot feature by Buster Keaton, “The General.”

Mary Lebold was at the Wurlitzer organ over from the Capitol following a special free performance by T.S. Roberts. It seated 500 with 350 in the orchestra and 150 in the balcony. The projection was a short throw in the the tightly configured auditorium. The third floor of the structure contained 12 apartments while Davies Confectionary (later the Hollywood Sweet Shop) was on the main floor adjoining the theater. Labor problems occur almost from the outset with the manager of the theater quitting and taking out an ad saying he’s no longer associated with the theater; Williamson’s name disappears from ads, as well.

A fire on Feb. 4, 1929 caused by the switchboard ruined the Wurlitzer and closed the theater for months until it reopened with new management, Ray Strumbo. His improvements included the Hollywood’s first talking pictures. After the War, the theater changes hands a half dozen times and is closed in 1953 just two weeks after the State had closed. But the theater re-opened appealing mainly to children and defying the odds to make it to its 30th anniversary. The theater struggled as the decade of the 1950s closed but under owner Matt Knighton, the theater finally found its way in the early and late 1960s mixing in foreign films and art film offerings. General American Theaters Circuit of Portland (GAT) purchased the Hollywood in late July of 1969. The theater’s balcony was closed off and the seat count was down to 350.

The theater closed on May 25, 1971 as GAT would create a new theater in the Lancaster Mall and the Hollywood was razed as part of an urban renewal project. In nearly 45 years of service, the Hollywood proved itself to be a part of the community it served and a true survivor through the silent to talkie conversion, Depression, WW2 and onset of television. It was missed not so much for its architecture but for being Salem’s first suburban and part of the fabric of the Hollywood District.

lheisl on September 19, 2016 at 10:50 am

My grandparents owned the hollywood theatre in the early 1950s. We used to go to the saturday matinees and help sell candy.

pdx66 on December 29, 2021 at 2:37 pm

For a time in the late 40’s (and perhaps before and beyond), the Hollywood was used for Saturday morning talent shows which were broadcasted over Salem’s KOCO radio. My mother sang as part of a female singing trio called The Royalettes, which were a regular feature of these programs.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 10, 2022 at 4:44 pm

The records of architect Day Walter Hilborn list a remodeling of the lobby of the Hollywood Theatre in Salem as a 1938 project.

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