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Redding's Cascade Theater   
Monday June 13, 2005
By Dawna Curler

Welcome to As It Was: Tales from the State of Jefferson

During the first half of the 20th century, the town movie theater was often the showpiece of a community. A virtual palace of bright lights and drama, the movie house drew people to the city's center. Decades later these cavernous aging downtown theaters lost their appeal. Drive-ins, multi-plex cinemas, television and video stores lured audiences away. But in recent years, some surviving cinema gems, like Redding, California's Cascade Theater, have found their time has come again.

In the 1930s, Michael Naify (NAY-fee), owner of a chain of opulent movie theaters, felt it was time Redding had its own modern showpiece. In 1935 he opened the Cascade Theater.

During the Great Depression and World War II, townsfolk lost their problems in the fantasy world of the Cascades' silver screen. Local youth found lucrative employment and romances blossomed among the red leather seats. Then the magic faded; the theater struggled with changing times and, in 1997, closed its doors-but not for long.

Southern Oregon University, Jefferson Public Radio Foundation, and Redding's civic and business leaders, have painstakingly restored the Cascade's magnificent chandeliers, painted ceiling mural, luminous neon marquee, and Art Deco styling details. The theater now serves the community as a performing arts center and houses JPR's Redding-based radio studio.

Today's episode of As It Was was written by Dawna Curler, the program engineer is Raymond Scully.  I'm Shirley Patton. As It was is a co-production of JPR and the Southern Oregon Historical Society.  To Share stories or learn more about the series visit asitwas - dot- org

Sources:
Weissberg, Al. "The Cascade Theatre: In the Beginning" (reprinted with permission of the Shasta Historical Society), this and other information from Cascade Theater restoration website http://www.cascadetheater.org and Cinema Treasures website http://www.cinematreasures.org theater/670

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