Interesting Stuff

Beautiful Theater, Bad Movie

By Dave Zarkin, former Statesman writer who revisited Boise after a 38 year absence.

Drawn into the mystical beauty of ancient Egypt inspired by watching Universal’s The Mummy — that best describes my motivation in seeing the fabulous renovation of the historic Egyptian (Ada) Theater in Boise this week.

Built in 1927, it provided a perfect escapist setting for moviegoers in the early days of talkies. According to a 1927 article in the Boise Capital News “Neferarkara, ruler of Old Egypt some 3000 or more years before Christ, during the fifth dynasty, was famed as a builder of pyramids . . .” and he probably would have approved of The Egyptian Theater but who knows?

Some parallels can be drawn between the renovations of the Egyptian and The Heights in Columbia Heights, MN, but the Egyptian is a theme design movie palace which makes it more over-the-top interesting, which is more than I can say for the movie Poseidon. Warner Bros. should have left well enough alone with the original 20 years ago. It certainly has it’s exciting moments but maybe my senses are dulled by too many special effects drama over the years. This is a huge showcase for newcomer Josh Lucas.

Go to the Egyptian website for news of upcoming events like a silent movie with music provided by the renovated theater organ, lectures including Joyce Carol Oates and Halloween bad movie night. The Egyptian is a gem that can’t be ignored with a huge scabbard beetle at the center of its dramatic proscenium arch.

I remember it as the Ada where I suffered through “Gone with the Wind” in the late 60s.

Comments & Discussion

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  1. I’m sorry Guardian.. I don’t know that theater. All I know downtown is the Ada! Is it close to that?

  2. Oh, Porc, you funny guy !!! Were you here in the 50’s when the Ada used to have “talent” contests for kids in the morning? I think we got a movie afterward. If you were here you might have heard me play “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” on a violin. Actually I think my friend, Peggy, and I played a duet. You wouldn’t have forgotten it – I think we were seriously bad. (Don’t tell Peggy.)

    Do you remember the Rio, Rialto, Pinney and Boise theaters too? No wonder we didn’t get TV here for many years. When you factor in the drive-ins you could go to a different movie every night of the week. Big screens. Those were the days.

  3. Allright! Fond memories from the old-timers!

    I can remember as a kid going to the Ada all summer long (every Wednesday morning if I recall) for a series of awesome movies… cowboy movies, movies like “Jason and the Argonauts,” “Mysterious Island,” Disney movies, etc. We’d always take the same spot – first row of the balcony. The place would be packed with kids, who were cheering the good guys and booing the bad guys. (I think the ticket for the whole series was 2 bucks. Popcorn and soda were 20 cents each.)

    (I’m a bit too young for the Rialto, but remember the Pinney and Boise Theaters… my buddy and I watched Disney’s “Blackbeard’s Ghost” 3 times, back-to-back, at the Boise; I was sure a better movie had never been made!)

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