About this project
UPDATE: We made our goal but there are many reasons to still pledge!
1) As mentioned in the video, while our goal is $55,000, this is the bare minimum amount we need to make it happen (and we wanted to be sure we set a realistic goal.) Ideally we would like to land at $75,000 to be sure we can cover any unforeseen construction expenses that arise (this is an old building with many surprises!) and to help with ongoing maintenance and light bulbs. All of the money raised through Kickstarter will be used only for the marquee.
2) Great rewards! You still have a chance to get free tickets, t-shirts, holiday gifts for friends and family, a photo of your name in lights on the new marquee, a vintage marquee letter and even your own private event at the theatre!
3) Bragging rights! When you come to the theatre with your friends, you can say "I helped make this beautiful marquee happen!" It's a chance to be part of something exciting, historic and great for the city of Portland!
The Hollywood Theatre, Portland’s historic nonprofit theater, is in dire need of a new marquee. The current marquee is crumbling and leaking through the roof, slowly damaging the beautiful façade. The goal of this Kickstarter campaign is to raise the remaining $55,000 to fabricate and install a new neon, illuminated sign based on the design of the theater’s original marquee of 1926. The Meyer Memorial Trust has already pledged $25,000, the Kinsman Foundation has pledged $10,000, the Hollywood Boosters have pledged $5,000 and we have already received thousands of dollars of donations from individuals and businesses, but we still need a minimum of $55,000 to make the new marquee a reality.
There is great community support behind the idea, now we just need people to step forward with financial pledges. Portlandia stars, Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein, both strongly support the project and appear in our video promoting the marquee posted above! Every donor will receive a reward, which may include a movie ticket and popcorn, vintage marquee letters, donor’s name and message displayed on the new marquee, and the opportunity to curate a night at the theater. See all the options posted to the right!
“The idea behind this historic marquee revival is to honor the Hollywood Theatre’s past while setting the stage for the future,” says Doug Whyte, Executive Director. “The existing marquee is over 30 years old and is out of character with the original design of the theater. It is literally crumbling at the edges and causing leaks in the roof. Plus, there is a 5-story building being erected next door which dwarfs the theater and obstructs the view of our marquee and beautiful facade. This new marquee will help us reclaim the theater's prominence on Sandy Boulevard.”
Now 86 years old, the Hollywood Theatre is being revitalized. New seats, screens, sound systems and other features have recently been installed, with more to come. The new marquee, already designed, will reflect the theater’s long heritage and be a sign of great things to come. We hope you will support us. It’s a long-term investment in our community. Let the show, and marquee, go on! Thank you!
ABOUT THE HOLLYWOOD THEATRE
The Hollywood Theatre is a not-for-profit organization whose mission is to entertain, inspire, educate and connect the community through the art of film, while preserving a historic Portland landmark.
The 1920s were sensational times for the motion picture industry. Movie theatres were grand palaces of entertainment. Throngs of people came by streetcars and Model Ts to be enthralled by the latest big screen hit.
They came out in droves on Saturday, July 26, 1926. On that day, at 2:00 pm, the Hollywood Theatre opened its curtains for the first time. It was a momentous occasion – for the city and for the neighborhood, which then became known as Hollywood.
When the 1,500-seat Hollywood Theatre first opened, a local advertisement called it a “palace of luxury, comfort and entertainment unsurpassed by any theatre on the Coast.” The Hollywood was the last venue in Portland built as both a vaudeville house and a movie theatre. Though sound was not fully introduced until 1927, there was plenty of lively sound in the place – provided by performers of all kinds, plus an eight-piece orchestra and organist.
Designed by Bennes & Herzog architects of Portland, the Hollywood is Spanish Colonial Revival in style. At the time, it was similar in style to some theatres, but different in its location. Most movie palaces were located in downtown areas. The Hollywood was built in an outer neighborhood on Sandy Blvd., with good streetcar and automobile access. It was a popular destination in Portland.
As decades rolled on, the Hollywood kept changing with the times. In the early 1960s the Theatre became the first Cinerama facility in the Pacific Northwest. The ultra-widescreen film format required the addition of two projection booths and a huge wrap-around screen.
In 1975, walls and projection booths were built to divide the Theatre’s balcony and create three separate auditorium spaces. The Theatre currently includes a 384-seat main auditorium (the original orchestra), a 114-seat venue (one-half of the original balcony), and a 111-seat venue (the other half of the original balcony). All three venues are capable of screening films.
Although attention was brought to the Theatre when it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in 1983, the Hollywood had become an old dame over the years. It had fallen on hard times and operated as a second-run discount movie house. Fortunately, the sad story took a turn in the late 1990s.
In 1997, the non-profit Film Action Oregon (FAO) acted to preserve an important part of Oregon’s cultural history and purchased the Hollywood Theatre. FAO realized the essential role the Theatre plays in the Northeast Portland community. They began to transform the neglected theatre into the local treasure it once was. In 2011, the non-profit dropped the name Film Action Oregon, and now is just known as the Hollywood Theatre. The name lives on and so does its legacy.
We’ve come a long way from silent films. The Hollywood Theatre is still a movie palace, but it’s become much more than that. The Theatre has earned a national reputation for its unique combination of award-winning film programming, innovative educational programs, and support and fiscal sponsorship for local filmmakers.
Each year we screen nearly 300 of the best films from all over the world and are also pursuing more interactive and innovative programming such as our Sound + Vision series, Kung Fu Theater, and our partnership with Filmusik. We also provide educational opportunities for over 500 young people and support multiple Oregon-based, independent film projects. The Theatre has been honored by both the Sundance Institute and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for contributions to the film community.
The Hollywood Theatre bears witness to the potential for film to change lives. It’s happening here every day, when the lights dim. May it continue for generations to come!
Risks and challenges
The fundraising is the biggest risk and challenge for this project. We have already raised about $50k in grant funding/donations and need $55k to complete it. Once we have the entire fabrication and installation costs in hand, we will give our contractors the go ahead. Potential challenges with completing the project include weather delays and permitting delays, but otherwise we have done a pre-inspection of the job site and it is ready to go.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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