How it Started:
The Star Theater opened on August, 24th 1904 as a vaudeville house in downtown Astoria. The building was built by S. Morton Cohn, along with other “capitalists who organized a $250,000 company for the purpose of building new theaters”1. The Star was connected to the 52 other theaters within the Crystal Circuit, with which Cohn was a part1.
On the opening day of The Star, the building was not yet completed but was able to accommodate guests for the evening1. The Theater presented a five-act Vaudeville which included juggling, a musical sketch, a rag-time pianist and dancer, and pictured melodies1. The theater was confident that it would be profitable even with tough competition in the area1. They accomplished this by previewing performances in Portland first and only sending the best ones to The Star1.
The First Couple Years:
The Star proved to be a success with reports of many full crowds5 and the presence of multiple popular acts being shown in the small town. The theater advertised an Edison projector that showed popular life motion pictures1. The theater also premiered popular plays such as The Lighthouse by the Sea2. The Star offered five acts per program5 and changed the program weekly on Mondays and had a change of acts on Thursdays3. The theater was also the only Vaudeville house to offer a children's matinee on Sundays costing only 5 cents4. The theater ranged in prices starting at 10 cents in 19043 to 25 cents for general admission in 19062.
Owners, Controversy and the End:
The Star theater had a handful of people in charge of the theater during its time. The theater was first built by S. Morton Cohen as described above and managed by P. Gevurtz which appears to be in their control until around 1910 when the theater was bought by the Portland Amusement Co.6 and managed by Donald Preston7. Around this time the theater was involved in a lawsuit between the Crystal Theater, another Astoria theater, and the Motion Picture Patent Co6. In this case, Henry Newman, owner of The Crystal, sued the Motion Picture Patent Co. because The Star theater was getting the first pick of new, better movies coming to town and The Crystal was getting the second pick despite both theaters paying a weekly licensing fee6. The next change of hands occurred around 1918 when S. Danz was mentioned associated with the theater in a magazine8. Between 1918 and 1922 the theater was bought by the Astoria Amusement Co.who owned many other theaters in Astoria and was managed by John Hamrick9. Unfortunately on December 8th, 1922, the theater burnt down in a devastating fire that destroyed a large portion of downtown Astoria along with many other theaters9.