In our last blog, we took a look at the Hollywood Theatre in Portland, Oregon. This is just one of the many examples of the preserved theatre history that is still maintained in Portland. Such historical preservation is reflected not only in their up-keep of the buildings, but also in the signs that are a marker of recognition. Let’s take a look at another historical Portland theatre and its sign.
The Bagdad Theatre, located on Hawthorne Boulevard, was built in 1927. Originally, it was a theatre that has had its variety of entertainment, including silent pictures, talkies, orchestra, live stage shows and vaudeville. The well-known films, One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest had its premier opening night here in 1974, and Sammy Davis, Jr. as well as the Will Mastin Trio both performed there. Its style is meant to reflect that of a building near the Mediterranean Sea. “Features include trompe-l’œil tiles, ornate lighting fixtures, arched doorways, and motifs involving animals and mythological creatures” (Bagdad Theatre).
Its large neon marquee competed with the other major theatres in the area. It was flashy and eye-catching, like much of the signage in the 1920’s meant to draw attention and make a grand impression. The sign still features a marquee and wrap around Channel Letter Sign as well. Today, the theatre still remains active but also included a pub where one can enjoy both dinner and a show. Updating with the times in order to meets its clients need, while still maintaining the historical value is what makes the Bagdad Theatre worth finding out what is behind the sign.
Come back next week to read about the Aladdin Theatre.