It’s amazing architectural design makes it an easy to find landmark on S.E. Hawthorne here in Portland. Yet it’s hard to believe the Bagdad Theater has been here since it first opened in 1927 with part owner Universal Pictures calling the 1,500 seat theater an “oasis for entertainment.” And it was. Dance troupes, vaudeville acts, and song and dance men like Sammy Davis Jr. all gracing the stage complete with orchestra pit.
Once you step inside the theater it’s like walking back in time and stepping into a king’s palace all at once. The small décor details make you feel like you’re back in the Golden Age of Hollywood. And if you show up hungry, deciding what to eat can take as long as the movie you’re planning to see. Everything from a Hummus plate to Wilbur’s Jumbo Deluxe bacon, cheddar, with a fried egg on top delivered to your seat in the mezzanine. Oh, did I forget to mention the locally crafted beer?
The Bagdad has had its share of cinematic spotlight but almost 50 years after it’s doors first opened. In 1975 stars Jack Nicholson and Louise Fletcher joined producer Michael Douglas at the Bagdad for the Oregon premiers of “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest. Then in 1991, the year Mike and Brian McMenamin bought the property and renamed it the Bagdad Theater & Pub, Portland based filmmaker Gus Van Sant screened his movie “My Own Private Idaho”.
Now in 2014, The Bagdad has been restored to it’s current high tech beauty. A new 50 percent larger screen, 20,000 watt surround sound, state-of-the-art digital projector and new rocker seating all for the first run movies that the Bagdad now features.
This is an exquisite theatre. Stepping inside, you are wowed by the awesome interior, and watching a movie at the Bagdad is something you’ll never forget.