North Bend Theater gets an 'old' look

If you've driven by the North Bend Theater on Bendigo Boulevard

lately, you may have noticed the

"closed" sign and the lack of movie titles

on the marquee.

Not to worry. If you take a closer look, you'll notice a small army

of personnel working diligently on the interior of the historic old cinema.

Yet to come are restoration activities for the exterior.

On Friday, Oct. 1, the North Bend Theater changed owners and a

significant historical renovation project began. When the theater reopens in

December, it will look like the original movie house constructed in 1941.

According to new co-owner Brian Slover, the Art-Deco character will

be maintained, while improvements are made to the infrastructure,

picture, sound, seating and lobby. The most notable exterior feature will be a

re-creation of the original neon sign.

The project is being welcomed by the city of North Bend, as a key

part of its downtown revitalization strategy. According to City

Administrator Phil Messina, "The renovation of

the theater building presents an outstanding opportunity to keep our

revitalization efforts moving forward."

Once the rehab is complete, moviegoers will benefit from more

comfortable seating, state-of-the-art picture quality and sound, more

concessions, and an expanded schedule of films. The goal of the project,

according to co-owner Karlene Slover, is "to preserve the traits of the original

theater, but improve the movie-going experience for our customers."

In a world of multi-screen movieplexes, the North Bend

Theatre is one of the last independent movie houses in King County. During

the 1940s, films such as "Up in Central Park" with Deanna Durbin and

Dick Haymes, "Tarzan and the Mermaids" with Johnny Weismuller and

Brenda Joyce, and "The Yearling," with

Gregory Peck and Jane Wyman, graced its screen.

Movies and "movie houses" may have changed, but with the

completion of this project, Valley residents will be able to take a little step

into yesterday, albeit with all the latest comforts.

For additional information on the North Bend Theater and the

restoration project, contact Brian Slover at (425) 888-7101, or visit the

theater's Web site at

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