Architect: Lee Thomas, 1927
Perhaps the best legacy an architect could hope for is that his work
would not just survive but be used as originally intended for a long time. That being the case, Lee Thomas must be particularly pleased up in Architects' Paradise. His theater was originally billed as an "Oasis for Entertainment," and Universal Pictures helped to finance it. The well-kept Mediterranean-style building with a stucco finish, ornamental plasterwork, and red clay-tile roof, still pays off on that investment. In 1991, the McMenamins picked up the property that Universal had let go, and funkified it in their own inimitable fashion.
The distinctive onion-domed Middle Eastern neon sign matches up with the theater's original interior features, although it was added decades after the theater opened. Gurgling gawkers still enjoy staring at the hip historicity of the theater's innards, though regrettably, the Arabian-style uniforms originally worn by theater employees are no longer part of the show. Maybe if someone would go down into the basement under the stage, they might find them, but nobody ever goes down there. According to the theater manager, it's too scary.
As for architect Lee Thomas, he was employed by Albert Mercier at an office in the U.S. National Bank building.
* Notable premieres at the Bagdad include Jack Nicholson at the 1975 premiere of Ken Kesey's One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, and local son Gus Van Sant's showing of My Own Private Idaho in 1991.Less Text