Chelan’s Ruby Theatre celebrates 109 Years of Hollywood Magic

Larry Hibbard, co-owner with his wife Mary, takes a turn in the box office at the classic movie theater.

CHELAN - For more than a century, the Ruby Theatre’s silver screen on Woodin Avenue in Downtown Chelan, has flickered with cinematic entertainment from the early silents, the talkies, 1930s movie glamour plus more modern adventures.

“We literally rolled out the red carpet to welcome movie-goers to celebrate the anniversary of The Ruby,” said local architect Larry Hibbard who owns the movie house with his wife Mary. “The 1914 theatre is on the National Register of Historic Places because of its historical architectural significance and in our hearts because of the continuing role it’s played in Chelan.”

“The auditorium with its horseshoe balcony, sloping floor, cast-plaster proscenium arch, and decorative tin ceiling, is essentially as it was when it was built,” explained Hibbard. “The facility has been well maintained, fitted with new comfortable seating, efficient HVAC, and digital projection. In addition, Valentina, a 104 year-old Wurlitzer photoplayer has recently been installed bringing back a forgotten piece of theatre history. The once- common, now rare, photoplayer is a self-playing one-man-band complete with keyboard, percussion, bells, pipes, and special effects that was developed to accompany silent films,” Hibbard continued.

This special anniversary celebration was an adventure with “Photo Plays” (the original term for movies) and music taking viewers back to the early days of cinema. Valentina, the photoplayer, will rise to the occasion from the piano pit for a mini concert before retreating to accompany the silent movies.

On July 30, a showing of “Gertie the Dinosaur,” America’s earliest animation, launched the event. Charlie Chaplin’s 1915 “The Tramp” will present Chaplin before he developed his legendary Tramp character. Buster Keaton will appear in a 1922 comedy, “The Goat” (no relation to the Chelan Goats!). The celebration will wind up with one of Walt Disney’s earliest animations, “Puss in Boots,” created in his first studio in Kansas.

The Ruby’s summer schedule of first-run Hollywood releases is now playing 7-days per week with 3 p.m. matinees on Saturday and Sunday and evening showings at 7 p.m., Monday - Saturday.

The staff pops popcorn nightly in the traditional concession stand which offers a wide array of favorite treats such as Milk Duds, M&Ms, candy bars, and gourmet fudge from the Culinary Apple. With these delights on hand, The Ruby makes for a fun evening or matinee show.

As local residents and summer tourists re-discover The Ruby, ticket sales have increased underscoring the lasting entertainment value of a date at the movies. Parents with their children filled the recent showings of action-packed Guardians of the Galaxy and the lively Spider-Man series.

The upcoming movie schedule is posted on the Ruby Website:




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