Pathé Pictures was a production and distribution company that played films in theaters across Oregon between 1912 and 1917. Indeed, most of Pathé’s business revolved around circulating their reels from theater to theater and city to city via regional film exchanges.
How films were distributed to theaters and venues.
Edwin F. James was a highly regarded businessman who moved from Seattle, Washington to Portland, Oregon to open the Majestic Theater on June 11, 1911. The theater sat 1,100 people and was the first palace in Portland to show silent feature films and was later the first to add live organ music to silent films viewings.
The Heilig theatre, located in Portland Oregon, was a vibrant and thrilling addition to the Portland theatre scene in the 1900s. It was built in 1910 and slowly became a staple for movie patrons in the Portland area. Although the Heilig was well known as a movie theatre, it was also extremely popular for showing comedic operas and vaudeville shows. One of its most notable performances included a production of Zandonai's Conchita starring soprano Tarquinia Tarquini in 1912 (1).
With the moving picture industry expanding at a rapid pace, film censorship was quickly growing as a potential threat for those involved in the industry. According to an article from The Sunday Oregonian in 1915, there was an opposition to film censorship by men of The Portland Press Club. The president of the club made the argument "if exhibitors in Portland show flagrant pictures, the public itself will be the censor". He continued to explain that if a picture is disliked by the public, it will fail and no longer be shown.
According to The Sunday Oregonian, a Portland office for Associated First National Pictures opened, in the city, on November 1st, 1920. This was big news for Portland theaters as Associated First National Pictures was a large nation-wide film distributor, with famous stars attached to their films, such as Charlie Chaplin and Mary Pickford, meaning that Portland theaters will be able to get better pictures easier and faster.
Heppner, Oregon is home to its very own Star Theatre, which was known as being one of the only theatres to show moving pictures in Heppner Oregon during the early 1900's as well as being a popular public space for other forms of performance art. Heppner's Star Theatre was owned and operated by B.G. Sigsbee and the program usually showed local short films and/or feature length films. The films showed at the theatre ranged in genres, including comedies, drama, war, etc.
Censorship is an issue that is currently debated on a national stage, but it started long before now.
As I was doing research on the Tivoli theater, I found that it was located on the Eastside of Portland.