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The Oregon Film & Video Foundation purchased the Hollywood Theatre in order to immediately preserve and gradually renovate this nationally recognized historic venue. Since reopening under Foundation management, the Theatre has once again become a vital part of the neighborhood that bears its name. In addition to serving as a movie house for classic, family and art films, it also provides a venue for concerts, theatrical performances, and community events. The Hollywood continues to assist the Oregon film community by serving as a venue for the world premieres of locally produced films and videos (over thirty to date), and as a location for both casting calls and film productions.
Located along Portland's Northeast Sandy Boulevard in the heart of the business district that bears its name, the Hollywood Theatre has been providing family entertainment since it opened on July 17th, 1926. It was the last venue built in Portland as both a vaudeville house and movie theater. With 1,500 seats, the Hollywood was one of the largest and more ornate neighborhood theaters in the Pacific Northwest. In the 1940's the Theatre was the scene of many War Bond drives and a host of other civic causes and community events. During the years following World War II, thousands enjoyed movies and shows each day at the Hollywood. In the late 50's and early 60's people from all over the Northwest packed the Hollywood to experience the amazing 3-projector widescreen process called "Cinerama." In 1975, in an attempt to compete with the popular trend of multiplex theaters, the Hollywood was split into the three separate auditoriums that exist today, with a total of 846 seats. In 1983 the Hollywood Theatre was put on the National Registry of Historic Places. Today, nearly all of Portland's grand theaters of the 20's and 30's have been torn down or modified for other uses. Gone are The Egyptian, The Fox, The Music Box and The Oriental. Though left still standing, the Hollywood Theatre spent the last 30 odd years quietly slipping into a state of disrepair, operating as a nearly forgotten discount movie house. Without renewed patronage and greater community usage the Hollywood would have eventually gone the way of the fore-mentioned movie palaces. When the Foundation took over operation of the Theatre it was apparent that major cleanup, repairs and initial renovations were necessary if the Theatre was to become the community asset it once was. The Theatre was closed for over three months while volunteers and area businesses donated the time, goods and services needed to begin the revitalization process. The emphasis during this first phase was to improve safety and comfort issues and to change the negative image that had surrounded the building for the past decade. Projects completed during this time included interior and exterior painting, removal of the old, unsanitary concession stand, the installation of a new security system, and carpet and seat cleaning. Donations and hard costs for these repairs exceeded $175,000.
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