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Inland Northwest Edition

November – December 2013 • $3.95 ®

Bing Crosby Way?

A Walk Down Sprague Avenue Provides Reminders of Bing’s Early Life

The Garland Theater In November of 1945, The Garland Theater Was The Premier Movie House in The West.


ccording to the Spokane Sentinel newspaper, “there is nothing like it on the Pacific coast, even in Los Angeles, it is 20 years ahead of Spokane.” One of the main attractions for youngsters at the opening was the snack bar, said to be “an innovation in the field and an import directly from Hollywood.” Showing on opening night was a double feature: It’s a Pleasure (starring Sonja Henie) and Double 12 t Nostalgia Magazine t November-December 2013

Exposure. The luxurious lobby was filled with baskets of flowers from studio well-wishers along with congratulatory telegrams from Bing Crosby, Cary Grant, Dorothy Lamour, Bob Hope, Ginger Rogers and Eddie Cantor. The lobby floors were covered in rose colored carpet, brown oak walls and a purple and lavender ceiling set above center columns of dark purple tile. The large auditorium featured stadium-style

Opposite page: The Garland Theater, Opening Day, 1945. This page: Above, the theater lobby, adorned with flowers gifted by celebrities and well-wishers. Right, three paychecks earned by theater workers in 1945. Weekly earnings of $6.75, $1.50, and $3.75. All photos courtesy of Katherine Fritchie.

seating and an original capacity near 1,000 — currently 630, as the seats have gotten larger — and the rows were extra-wide, designed so that people could leave their seats without disturbing others. The walls were powder blue and Italian red and said to feature “germicidal lamps” to keep the air purified.

An innovation in marketing at the time was to have a record and gift shop at the theatre, and the Garland was no exception: as the music faded from the screen, a slide was shown informing patrons that they could purchase the music they just heard right there at the theatre. November-December 2013 t Nostalgia Magazine t 13

Above, an advertisement that appeared in the Spokesman-Review for The Garland Theater, Thanksgiving Day 1945 (November 28). “Adults, 55c; Students and Men in Uniform, 33c; Children, 15c.� 14 t Nostalgia Magazine t November-December 2013

The Garland closed briefly in the early 1960s with the owner saying that it “had everything but customers.” According to the Spokesman-Review it survived a brief period as an X-rated movie house and then stood empty from May of 1986 to November 1988, when Don Clifton reopened it as the first discount theatre in Spokane. The concept caught on, and in 1995, The Garland marked its 50th

anniversary with a 3-D showing of “Creature from the Black Lagoon.” Current owner Katherine Fritchie purchased the theatre in 1999 and has been working to restore the theatre to its original splendor and modernize the sound and projection systems while retaining the family-friendly atmosphere and price. Recent renovations include brand new theater seats with additional leg and shoulder room. g

Garland Theater Memories T

he first movie I ever remember going to, just my Dad and I (Dad turns 80 this year), was at the Garland. We saw “2001: A Space Odyssey.” Soon afterwards, I talked my folks into buying the soundtrack album. I liked the pictures on the album jacket. Imagine my surprise to find out it was all classical music, performed by a Symphony Orchestra. ~ Tom Uryga


am 74, and I went to the theater every Saturday during second grade. My Mom would drop me off at the theater, and let me go by myself. If I remember correctly, the price was 25 cents. There was always a western serial, a news reel, and a cartoon. Felix the Cat and Mickey Mouse. Lash LaRue, Tom Mix, and Hopalong Cassidy. It was something to look forward to the whole

week. And of course, you hated to miss a Saturday, because of the serial nature of the film. ~ Ruth Bass


ur big outing on Saturdays was to be dropped off [at The Garland Theater] with my cousins for the Saturday matinee. I remember the news casts: I guess they did that instead of previews. We could each get a candy bar and share 2 pops. Great fun! ~ Sharlene Challender Schulte


remember seeing “The Ten Commandments” there, on the big screen. Fabulous! At that time, it was such a fancy theater. Much later, I saw “Blazing Saddles,” and I laughed so hard, I had tears in my eyes and I fell out of my chair. I lived blocks away, and so we walked to the theater. Also, I saw “Thunderbolt and Lightfoot” at the Garland, starring Jeff Bridges, George Kennedy, and Clint Eastwood. It really affected me, because it was one of those stories that drew me in, and stayed with me for days, and weeks, and years. ~ Alene Lindstrand

November-December 2013 t Nostalgia Magazine t 15

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SAMPLE STORY: The Garland Theater  

In November of 1945, The Garland Theater Was The Premier Movie House in The West. Learn more about Nostalgia Magazine at www.nostalgiamagazi...

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