POLISHING A GEM 1915 Movie House Is Getting State-of-the-Art Upgrades
Prager, Mike, The Spokesman-Review (Spokane, WA)
CATCHING UP: BING CROSBY THEATER
Businessman Jerry Dicker looks at some Bing Crosby memorabilia stored at the Bing Crosby Theater on Dec. 18. Dicker and his wife, Patty, bought the historic 1915 theater and have been updating it with digital projection, video monitors and surround sound audio.
Theater Manager Michael Smith points out features of the Bing's new digital projection system. The projector cost more than $50,000, and a new surround sound system is being planned.
Improvements to the Bing Crosby Theater are creating a buzz.
Jerry Dicker purchased the downtown Spokane landmark 10 months ago and went to work.
There's a new high-definition movie projector and screen that will soon be wired into a new surround sound audio system.
The leaky roof has been repaired. New heating and air conditioning systems are making the theater more comfortable. And a new outside sign is lighting up the theater's east side at night.
Events have been filling the theater's 756 seats, and there is now demand for even more shows in the historic 1915 movie palace at 901 W. Sprague Ave.
"The Bing is going really well," said Dicker, a real estate investor and developer who has become a major figure in historic preservation in Spokane.
He paid $1 million to classic car collector Mitch Silver last February to buy the Bing, with plans to sink at least $500,000 and probably more into renovation and upgrades.
"He is going to have a product that people will want to visit," said theater manager Michael Smith, who is expanding the range of events.
Movies shown at the theater are varied: Some claiming to push intellectual thought are coming to the theater on Tuesdays and Wednesdays for early evening entertainment, and Smith is talking about hosting a film festival featuring amateur videos shot by people wearing GoPro helmet cams while skiing or skateboarding.
A Bing cinema festival is planned to open Jan. 19 with a showing of the James Bond thriller "Dr. No" and other classic films. The theater will serve martinis that are shaken,not stirred, during the 1962 Bond film. Other showings will be vintage rock concerts redone with digital sound.
The theater also is preparing to provide live streaming video for incoming and outgoing shows. It is also being equipped to create digital recordings for later sale.
There's talk of a new live comedy series called "Bada Bing."
"It's going to be fun here," Smith said.
"We want people to look at the Bing and say there's always something happening there," added Dicker.
The theater is reaching out to the community for partnerships.
One of those is with Christian Youth Theater Spokane, which is staging "The Little Mermaid Jr.," starting on Feb. …