For two decades, the Palace Hip ran vaudeville, showed films and staged plays.
WE PROMISED to dazzle you this week with another attraction on the same block where last Sunday we visited a musical pig dancing above the sidewalk — on Second Avenue north of Madison Street.
By the time the Pig’N Whistle opened in 1919, its neighbor, the Palace Hip theater, across Second on the corner of Spring, had been showing animal acts and much more for 10 years.
The name blazoned here on the theater’s boisterous marquee was its third. The theater opened as the Majestic on Aug. 30, 1909, changed to Empress less than two years later and in 1916, with a remodel, turned over again into the Palace Hip (short for Hippodrome).
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Soon after the summer opening, this newspaper surveyed its wonderful construction. “The entire designing and constructing of the Majestic Theatre in somewhat over five months from the date of John W. Considine’s order is an apt illustration of the Seattle Spirit.” Considine was the super-impresario and Edwin W. Houghton the architect, who told The Seattle Times reporter, “I was fortunate enough to have a client that had good enough judgment to select an architect whom he thought was capable and then leave him to do it.”
For two decades, the Palace Hip ran vaudeville, showed films and staged plays. Six or seven acts took the stage twice a day. Of the hundreds upon hundreds of acts — comedy, song-and-dance, animal — that landed here for a run of a week or two, Charlie Chaplin and Stan Laurel (later of Laurel and Hardy) are the most abiding names.
David Jeffers, Seattle’s historian of silent film, confesses, “I dream about this place. A Greco-Byzantine interior of ivory and gold and 1,500 seats!”
Check out Paul Dorpat and Jean Sherrard’s blog at www.pauldorpat.com.