Now & Then
Green Lake Theater was an Art Deco classic
Once a magnet for movies in the 1940s, Seattle's Green Lake Theater was sold and remodeled, losing its distinctive Art Deco ornamentation but living on as home to a photo-services business.
I CAME UPON this revealing look into the East Green Lake business district directly after winning a barrel full of umbrellas with the low and only bid of $1.50. I wanted one umbrella, but to get it had to purchase them all at a mid-1980s Wallingford estate auction.
But behind the barrel was a box filled with prints and negatives, including this week's subject. There were about 400 in all, and all by Lennard P. LaVanway, who had been a Green Lake-based commercial photographer. With very few exceptions, all the contents — weddings, babies, homes, churches, businesses — are images from the general Green Lake neighborhood, and they date from 1946-47.
Here, LaVanway's centerpiece is the Green Lake Theater in 1947. Both films on the marquee — "The Time, the Place and the Girl" (a musical comedy) and "Falcon's Adventure" — were released in December of '46. The theater opened in 1937 with Art Deco features including curves, parapets and a decorated tower.
Lorenz Lukan, the manager and part owner, lived nearby at the Woodland Court Apartments. Lukan's 1966 obituary in Boxoffice, describes him coming to Seattle in 1891 to become an "early-day film distributor and theater owner . . . He operated the Beacon, Arabian and other suburban theaters in Seattle as Lukan's Far West Theatres."
It is a testimony to the exceptional buoyancy of the movie business that such a fine theater could be opened in a Seattle neighborhood during the Great Depression. It is also a testimony to television that it would not last. Stripped of its Art Deco qualities, the not-so-old theater's long-term tenant is now Pacific Color, which has managed to stay open as a photo-service business despite the digital revolution.
Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard's blog at www.pauldorpat.com.
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.
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