The Mack Theater

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History

MACK REFLECTIONS

At the height of the Golden Age of Cinema, McMinnville, Oregon received national silver screen acclaim. While epic films like Gone With The Wind and The Wizard Of Oz premiered to millions, Matty and Bob Mattecheck envisioned the ultimate movie palace.

As longtime owners of the Gaiety and the Lark theaters, these pioneer showmen knew what McMinnville theater-goers wanted and spared no expense or attention to detail in designing the Mack. In 1941 they completed construction through the prominent turn-of-the-century Yamhill Hotel, now home to Serendipity Ice Cream Parlor and Kame Restaurant.

The grand marquee entrance lead through the hotel to a huge 700 seat theater designed with its own power plant for heat and modern day air conditioning. Solid concrete walls rose 25 feet high, topped with Oregon old growth timbers so big that each tree spanned the ceiling!

Scientifically constructed acoustical walls, RCA “Magic Voice” high fidelity and Motiograph projectors provided sound which outperformed big city theaters from Seattle to San Francisco. Finishing touches included elegant Alexander-Smith velvet cushioned carpets, Heywood Cameo spring seats and a majestic rising curtain to welcome each show. The new showplace was hailed as “the finest theater for its size on the Pacific Coast”.

Today the Mack (as in Mattecheck) has enjoyed over 60 years of business since it’s Grand Opening on Saturday, October 18th, 1941. While thousands of single screen theaters have closed, doomed to darkness by the haunting influence of television and the multiplex, the neon shines bright in McMinnville, a lasting tribute to the community and two showmen who gave their best to entertain their town.

The Mack Theater is located in historic downtown McMinnville, Oregon near the corner of Third & Evans Streets.

Click for a larger view.
3rd Street McMinnville
Third Street, McMinnville
(c. 1950's)

We plan to add many more historical photographs of the Mack Theater and downtown McMinnville to this page. If you have any photos of the Mack Theater or of downtown McMinnville since 1940, please let us know. We would be delighted to display them here as well.


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