Orpheum Theatre

1900 5th Avenue,
Seattle, WA 98101

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Evergreen State Amusement Corp., Orpheum Circuit

Architects: Benjamin Marcus Priteca

Styles: Italian Renaissance

Nearby Theaters

Orpheum Theatre auditorium

Seattle’s 5th Orpheum Theatre was built in 1927, opening on August 28, 1927 with headline Orpheum vaudeville and on screen Rod La Rocque in “The Fighting Eagle”. It had a large neon rooftop sign. It was a project of the Orpheum Circuit and was equipped with a Wurlitzer organ, 3 manual, 13 ranks Style 335 ‘Special’ Opus 1674. It was closed for almost a year during the Depression, and was reopened by John Hamrick as a movie house under his Evergreen State Amusement Co. During the 1940’s and into the 1950’s it was home to the Seattle Symphony orchestra. In the early-1960’s the stage was bricked off from the main house and it became a movie theatre once again. Sterling purchased the Orpheum Theatre in 1964. It closed May 9, 1967 with a triple-bill program “Mondo Cane”, “Bad Girls Do Cry” and “Mau Mau”.

On June 27, 1967 the contents of the theatre, including the Wurlitzer organ, were auctioned off and on August 6, 1967 demolition began. It took 10 weeks to raze the building.

A Westin Hotel now occupies this site.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 21 comments)

BrooklynJim on June 26, 2006 at 8:11 am

Error: the 2nd printing was out in 1995. (The book was originally published in 1988.)

Ron3853 on December 2, 2009 at 2:24 pm

Listed below are the films that played at the Orpheum Theater in Seattle from 1959 through its closing in 1967. Research is from microfilms of The Seattle Post-Intelligencer and Variety. The date listed is the Wedensday of the opening week.

12/16/59 The House of the Seven Hawks/Libel
12/23/59 The Miracle
12/30/59 Elephant Gun/Sea Fury
01/06/60 Terror is a Man/The Scavengers
01/13/60 Happy Anniversary
01/27/60 The Beast from the Haunted Cave/The Wasp Woman
02/10/60 A Date With Death/The Hideous Sun Demon
02/17/60 The Last Voyage
03/09/60 The Rise and Fall of Legs Diamond/It Happened in Rome
03/16/60 Guns of the Timberland/The Pusher
03/23/60 Sapphire/Wild and Innocent
04/06/60 Kidnapped
04/20/60 This Rebel Breed/The Threat
04/27/60 Nature’s Paradise/Too Soon to Love
05/04/60 Please Don’t Eat the Daisies
06/08/60 Giant of Marathon/Davy
06/22/60 Head of a Tyrant/The Cossacks
06/29/60 Ice Palace
07/06/60 Dinosaurus/SOS Pacific
07/20/60 Stop! Look! and Laugh!/My Dog Buddy
07/27/60 The Time Machine/The Day They Robbed the Bank of England
08/24/60 College Confidential/Four Fast Guns
09/14/60 Expresso Bongo/Cage of Evil
09/28/60 The Angel Wore Red
10/05/60 For Members Only/The Mating Time
11/23/60 Sunrise at Campobello
11/30/60 Girl of the Night/Crooked Circle
12/28/60 The Sundowners
01/25/61 A Fever in the Blood
02/08/61 Gold of the Seven Saint/Tormented
02/22/61 Swiss Family Robinson
03/08/61 Question 7
03/22/61 The Great Imposter/Shakedown
04/12/61 Question 7
04/26/61 Gorgo/Trouble in the Sky
05/24/61 The Young Savages/A Matter of Morals
06/28/61 Morgan the Pirate/The Green Helmet
07/12/61 The Ladies Man/Love in a Goldfish Bowl
08/09/61 The Thief of Bagdad/Posse from Hell
08/16/61 Ada/The Pharoah’s Woman
08/23/61 Tammy Tell Me True/Wings of Chance
08/30/61 The World by Night/Blast of Silence


04/11/62 Rome Adventure/The Singer, Not the Song
04/25/62 Samar/House of Women
05/02/62 King of Kings
05/16/62 Ride the High Country/Malaga
05/23/62 Judgement at Nuremberg


11/14/62 Gay Purr-ee/The Valiant
12/19/62 In Search of the Castaways
01/23/63 If a Man Answers/Stagecoach to Dancer’s Rock
02/06/63 Term of Trial
02/13/63 The Hook/Cairo
02/20/63 The Days of Wine and Roses
04/03/63 It Happened at the World’s Fair
05/01/63 40 Pounds of Trouble/Mystery Submarine
05/08/63 Come Fly with Me/Rififi in Tokyo
05/15/63 The Ugly American
05/29/63 The List od Adrian Messenger/Showdown
06/05/63 Tammy and the Doctor/The Traitors
06/19/63 Spencer’s Mountain
06/26/63 A Gathering of Eagles
07/10/63 A Ticklish Affair/In the Cool of the Day
07/17/63 Summer Magic
07/31/63 PT 109/Black Gold
08/14/63 The Thrill of it All
10/16/63 Rampage/Wall of Noise
10/23/63 Twilight of Honor/The Young and the Brave
10/30/63 Mary, Mary
11/20/63 Palm Springs Weekend
12/11/63 Freud: The Secret Passion
12/18/63 Kiss of the Vampire/The Sword of Lancelot
12/25/63 Charade
01/29/64 Dead Ringer/With Their Eyes on the Stars
02/12/64 Man’s Favorite Sport
02/26/64 Children of the Damned/Gladiators 7
03/04/64 Sunday in New York
03/18/64 Captain Newman, M. D.
04/01/64 The Seven Faces of Dr. Lao/Cavalry Command
04/08/64 The Incredible Mr. Limpet/The Raiders
04/15/64 Kissin' Cousins/The Beauty and the Body
04/22/64 The Brass Bottle/Young and Willing
04/29/64 Advance to the Rear/Square of Violence
05/06/64 Mail Order Bride/Any Number Can Win
05/13/64 The Best Man
05/20/64 Tarzan’s 3 Challenges/Tamahine
05/27/64 A Distant Trumpet/FBI Code 98
06/03/64 The World of Henry Orient
06/10/64 Flipper’s New Adventure/Gold for the Caesars
06/17/64 Viva Las Vegas/The Great Armored Car Swindle
07/01/64 The Seventh Dawn
07/08/64 Robin and the Seven Hoods/Dr. Crippen
07/29/64 Looking for Love/Never Put it in Writing
08/05/64 Ensign Pulver
08/12/64 The Moon-Spinners
09/02/64 Honeymoon Hotel/Aliki, My Love
09/09/64 The Christine Keeler Affair/Tomorrow at Ten
09/16/64 Woman of Straw
09/23/64 MGM’s Big Parade of Comedy/The Golden Horseshoe Revue
10/07/64 Four Days in November
10/14/64 Kisses for My President
10/21/64 Of Human Bondage/The Naked Kiss
11/04/64 The Young Lovers/A Yank in Vietnam
11/11/64 Joy House/Racing Fever
11/18/64 Youngblood Hawke
12/23/64 Sex and the Single Girl
02/17/65 36 Hours/The Pink Panther
03/10/65 The Rounders/The Second Time Around
03/24/65 Ferry Cross the Mersey/A Hard Day’s Night
04/07/65 Girl Happy/The Young Racers
04/21/65 John Goldfarb, Please Come Home/The Notorious Landlady
05/12/65 The Black Torment/The Brain
05/19/65 Masquerade/A Shot in the Dark
05/26/65 Joy in the Morning/Lili
06/02/65 I’ll Take Sweden/Period of Adjustment
06/16/65 Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion/Hercules, Samson, and Ulysses
06/23/65 Seaside Swingers/The Bounty Killer
06/30/65 Operation Crossbow
07/14/65 The Monkey’s Uncle
07/28/65 Having a Wild Weekend/The Woman Who Wouldn’t Die
08/04/65 The Glory Guys/How to Murder Your Wife
08/11/65 Help!/Swingers' Paradise
09/15/65 Billie/Go Go Big Beat
09/22/65 Murieta/Cheyenne Autumn
09/29/65 She/Sandokan the Great
10/06/65 Never on Sunday/Topkapi
10/20/65 Old Yeller/Indian Paint
10/27/65 The Ipcress File/Dark Intruder
11/24/65 Harum Scarum/Your Cheatin' Heart
12/08/65 It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
12/22/65 Thunderball
03/23/66 The Slender Thread/My Six Loves
04/27/66 Harper
05/25/66 Frankie and Johnny/Bye Bye Birdie
06/08/66 Around the World Under the Sea/Zebra in the Kitchen
06/15/66 A Big Hand for the Little Lady/Spencer’s Mountain
06/22/66 Hold On!/Get Yourself a College Girl
06/29/66 The Glass-Bottom Boat/Son of a Gunfighter
07/13/66 A Fine Madness
08/03/66 Maya
08/10/66 Batman/Don’t Worry, We’ll Think of a Title
08/17/66 What Did You Do in the War, Daddy?
08/24/66 Up to His Ears
09/14/66 Ambush Bay
09/21/66 Chamber of Horrors/Hysteria
09/28/66 Goldfinger/Dr. No
10/19/66 Seconds/Waco
10/26/66 Kaleidoscope
11/02/66 Mister Buddwing/The Nanny
11/09/66 The Fighting Prince of Donegal
11/23/66 Spinout/Fireball 500
12/07/66 The Swinger/When the Boys Meet the Girls
12/21/66 Any Wednesday/Mozambique
01/18/67 Funeral in Berlin
02/08/67 A Fistful of Dollars
03/01/67 The Corrupt Ones
03/08/67 First to Fight
03/15/67 Easy Come, Easy Go
03/29/67 Hotel/The Wild Affair
04/19/67 Doctor, You’ve Got to Be Kidding!/Panic Button
04/26/67 The 25th Hour
05/03/67 Mondo Cane/Bad Girls Do Cry/Mau Mau

Gooper on December 20, 2010 at 7:19 pm

By chance, I did a walk-through of the Orpheum just as it was being parted out before demolition. Jaw-dropping.

There were couch-like seats on the main floor. The elevator was marble-lined. The doors into the auditorium at the top balcony level were folding, like telephone kiosk doors.

I mourned the loss of the Orpheum for years.

Across the street (5th Ave), the Orpheum Garage for parking survived into the 1990s, I think. It had a brick facade that echoed the theatre’s facade.

neeb on May 6, 2011 at 5:02 am

A photo from the Early 1960s:

View link

View link

Pretty large, but adds for some great examination of details.

Gooper on May 6, 2011 at 9:48 am

Thanks for the view, neeb. I remember it well, especially the similar view from the nearby Vance Hotel. Trader Vic’s was in the Ben Franklin bldg (frontage on 5th Ave.). The hotel blended nicely with the theatre, from the monorail side.

I remember seeing the sign on the fire escape side, ‘John Hamrick’s Orpheum Theatre’ and thinking how lucky this guy was to OWN the Orpheum!

In the 1980s I knew Red Roberts, a vaudevillian hoofer, who’d played at the Orpheum with Bob Hope in the 20s. Great stories.

I also knew a woman who’d had an all-girl band in the 30s. She fell into the Orpheum’s orchestra pit and broke her leg, but she didn’t miss the performance that night, leading the band on crutches.

rivest266 on January 21, 2012 at 10:41 am

August 28th, 1967 grand opening ad has been posted here.

paulnelson on May 25, 2012 at 6:51 pm

A very elaborate and beautiful theatre that was a mediteranian fantasy. Large and dramatic. Should have been restored and saved.

RichardO on January 28, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I saw my very first concert there in the early 60’s. A “Twist Festival” with Chubby Checker and many others. Crazy twisters kept the ushers very busy

gill on March 2, 2013 at 10:10 am

There’s a great 1928 photo of the Seattle Orpheum on the Historic-Memphis.com website’s Theatre page. Here’s a link to the page.

DavidZornig on August 11, 2015 at 8:28 am

1962 poster image added courtesy of Ted Okuda.

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