November 7, 2011 in City

Photos Then & Now: Glitzy Garland Theatre opened in 1945


Early 1950s: The Garland Theatre opened to the public on Thanksgiving Day in 1945 as one of the most modern theaters in Spokane.
(Full-size photo)(All photos)

Good wishes came via telegram from superstars Bing Crosby, Cary Grant and Bob Hope when the Garland Theatre opened in 1945. The stylish interior, the record and gift shop in the lobby, and almost 1,000 seats made an impression at the close of World War II. Installation of a wide screen, stereophonic sound and new seats and curtains came in 1954 at a cost of $20,000. In November 1959 the theater was purchased by Edward H. Metzgar for $200,000, but he sold the theater in 1961 after a legal dispute with the original owners. The glitz faded and the theater closed, followed by sporadic reopenings and closings over the next 20 years. In the late 1980s, the Garland reopened as a discount theater. Today it shows second-run movies – on Wednesdays, admission is just $1. Owner Katherine Fritchie recently added a bar, Bon Bon, in an attached building.

– Jesse Tinsley

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