The Fox Theater in Spokane, Washington, was built in 1931 as an Art Deco movie theater that is currently used as a performing arts venue and the home of the Spokane Symphony. It was designed by architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Architectural designer Robert C. Reamer was responsible for the design of the Old Faithful Inn in Yellowstone National Park, among other famous projects. He formed the Fox Film Corporation Empire, which included this studio, which was part of the Fox Film Corporation Empire. The theater first opened its doors on September 3, 1931, and it remained open until it closed its doors on September 21, 2000, following an engagement of the film Gladiator, starring Russell Crowe.

A total of 2,350 people could be accommodated in the Fox Theater when it opened on September 3, 1931 (1,450 on the ground level and 900 in the balcony). Anita Page, Mitzi Green, George O’Brien, Victor McLaglen, and El Brendel were among the celebrities who attended the opening night event. Onlookers flocked to the streets outside the theater in anticipation of a free outdoor entertainment and to catch a sight of the celebrities who were being led from the Davenport Hotel, which was estimated to number as many as 20,000 in all.

In contrast to the Italianate images that had been published in the Spokesman-Review, the sleek modern art deco facade of the building took many people by surprise when they saw it. Several contemporary newspaper sources singled out the interior decorations as particularly beautiful.

“It’s so unusual, so bizarre, and so futuristic,” wrote Wilbur Hindley of the Spokesman-Review, “that even a casual passerby catches his breath in surprise and wonder.” The design used aluminum and glass rather than the traditional marble and wood in the interior d├ęcor, which included embellishments like hand painted murals of undersea plants and etched glass light panels, according to Hindley.

After the live presentation of Fanchon and Marco’s About Town, the Fox presented the film Merely Mary Ann, which was followed by a reception. Laurel and Hardy performed, as well as a concert by the Fox Theater Orchestra, which was free for ticket holders to attend.

The theater’s long-term economic plan included mixing traditional vaudeville-style live entertainment with fashionable Hollywood talkies, and this mix matched the changing interests of the general public. Movies have evolved into a low-cost means of escaping the difficulties of the Great Depression. For the first three decades of its existence, the Fox Theatre would be the major performing arts venue in Spokane.

The Davenport Hotel
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