Baghdad Refurbished.


Before seeing a free showing of My Own Private Idaho, I heard the end of the lecture on the history of the Baghdad Theater.  I arrived for the lecture during the period when the Baghdad was going through a transformation to a “multiplex” which meant walling off the balcony for a separate theater and shoehorning a third theater, called the Back Door Theater, behind the main theater space.  All McMenamin’s movie screens show slide shows before their movies begin, and interspersed with the slides for the many McMenamin’s products are historic pictures.  I have been seeing the picture of the Back Door Theater for years and wondered about it.  Now I know.

This picture was a poster for a premiere that happened at the Baghdad:  They Live.  Among other things, this  forgettable movie had the involvement of the man who invented the propeller beanie.  Thus the explanation of the strange juxtaposition of these two pictures.

The history of the theater was quite interesting and I was sorry I didn’t prioritize listening to the entire lecture.

3 thoughts on “Baghdad Refurbished.”

  1. I've actually seen "They Live." If you can believe it, the fact that I've seen it has come in handy more than once at trivia. I guess it's a trivia geek kind of movie (in the Geeks Who Drink world, anyway). I don't recall the Baghdad having 3 theaters. Is that somewhat recent?

  2. See? I knew I shouldn't have written and published on the same day. Clarity comes in the rewrites. The Baghdad is now back to one screen, which happened when McMenamins bought the theater. When the multiplex thing started happening in the 60s, it was hard for single screens to compete, so the theater owner at the time blocked off the balcony and made a second theater. Then, in the small space in the back side of the building he shoved another theater, the Back Door Theater. It had cushions and not seats (there is a very funny picture) and never really worked. It eventually became, according to the former owner, a place for kids to bring their weed and 12-packs.

    According to the talk, it was difficult in the refurbishment to knock out the wall between the balcony and the main level but they did it. And what was the Back Door Theater is now the Back Stage Bar. So now the Baghdad is 1 screen, 1 restaurant and 1 bar.

  3. I am glad the someone is valuing theater history enough to give history talks before shows. Very nice. I wore a propeller beanie when Angela and I dressed ad Tweedle Dee and Tweedle Dum. In fact, I think I still have it somewhere in a box at my mom's house. Last comment. No time to get on dinner.

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