Weekly Gem #243, Happiness pursued here
Location: This Hidden Gem is located at the intersection of Commercial Street and 12th Street in Astoria, OR (see the Clue Me! Map).
The Liberty Theater is a classic example of a 1920s era theater, which was built for vaudeville shows, but also included that newfangled silver screen. It was at this time that the silent film era was winding down, and talkies were getting started, so all the new theaters were built for both vaudeville acts and motion pictures.
You might ask, "Vaudeville? What makes this movie theater also a vaudeville theater?" If you go inside the theater you will see a classical style movie palace with its opulent, luxurious Italian Renaissance architecture, complete with fancy murals. You will also notice not just a movie screen, but... a stage.
In 1925 vaudeville shows were still a popular form of entertainment. They were live variety shows with a series of short entertaining acts, one right after another (Carol Burnett and Tim Conway would have loved it!). Motion pictures were increasingly popular at this time too, so theaters were built with movie screens as well as a stage.
As motion pictures progressed from a technological novelty to silent films to movies with sound, they became more economical for both fans and theaters, eventually putting vaudevillians out of work.
Most of these old ‘stage plus screen’ theaters have been lost, but the Liberty has been kept up and cared for, so it continues to entertain Astorians with both movies and live performances.
Here's the hidden gem entry from our Clue Me! map.
Jugglers, dancers, magicians, trained animals, ventriloquists, acrobats, comedians, musicians, plate-spinners, one-act plays, clowns, etc.
Why It's Interesting
This is a historic vaudeville-motion picture theater. It has been restored and is a beautiful example of Italian Renaissance architecture.