Look what's playing at the Hawaii Theatre!
Photographer: Joel Bradshaw, Wikipedia / public domain, 2007
The Hawaii Theatre opened in 1922 as a vaudeville and cinema venue by the Consolidated Amusement Company. The grand theater was designed by architects Walter Emory and Marshall Webb, who used a neoclassical style on the exterior and Beaux Arts on the interior, which includes bronze bas reliefs and a wall-size mural.
In the Hawaii Theatre's earliest days, when movies were silent, a large theater organ provided music that echoed what was taking place on screen. The theater organ remains to this day and is raised to stage level as needed with hydraulic levers. With the advent of "talking pictures" (1930s), the Hawaii Theatre became a noted movie theater, a reputation it enjoyed through the 1960s. By the mid-1970s, the theater was in a state of decline. Concerned that its end was near, its owners placed it on the National Register of Historical Places (1978). It closed in 1984.
In 1986, the Hawaii Theatre was purchased for restoration, and fundraising efforts began. It wasn't until 1994 that restoration was begun. Interior work was completed in 1995, in order that the theater could reopen. Exterior work was not completed until 1996. The last detail was restoration of the large marquee, the cost for which Marie contributed in Jack's memory. A plaque reads "Marquee in memory of Jack Lord" (see photograph, below).
Today, the Hawaii Theatre is known as the Hawaii Theatre Center to avoid confusion with the Hawaii Theatre in Los Angeles, California (now closed). It showcases stage shows, concerts, and ballets, featuring both Hawaiian themes and artists and national and international ones. It is also home to the Hawaii International Film Festival.
Honu added this bit of information: "Speaking of the Hawaii Theatre, in 2004, James MacArthur purchased a commemorative seat in the Hawaii Theatre in honor of the Hawaii Five-O cast. (It's seat number J8 if anyone wants to go sit in it!) I'm thinking that Rose Freeman also purchased a seat in memory of her husband, but I've not found a reference for that."
Photo Credits: The pictures of the historical plaque, the stage, and the overhead chandelier are used courtesy of Isaac Sakamoto. The picture of the marquee credit was taken by Linda Smith. To see more interior photographs, taken during and after restoration, go to http://www.conradschmitt.com/portfolio/projects/?projectid=51