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4th Avenue Theatre Fact Sheet
- The 4th Avenue Theatre is one of the best examples of the Art Deco style used in theatres in the United States. The 4th Avenue embodies the extravagance of the style, with its four-story sign in Art Deco lettering towering on the streetscape, while asserting its regional flare, exemplified by the distinct murals on the interior that depict Alaskan life. The date of construction falls near the end of the Art Deco period which gave designers ample opportunity to perfect their work and produce this gem. To many the 4th Avenue theatre is "the culmination of the Art Deco movement" in the United States.
- Famed theatre architect, B. Marcus Priteca, designed the 4th Avenue Theatre with A.A. Porreca. Priteca is known as the "Dean of American Theatre Design." He joined the Art Deco style with theatre design in his creation of the Hollywood Pantages in 1927. Priteca is also credited with the conceptualization of the murals found in the 4th Avenue Theatre's interior.
- The 4th Avenue Theatre stands as a tribute to a great Alaskan entrepreneur, Austin "Cap" Lathrop. Lathrop viewed movies as a great form of entertainment for northern families so he developed a chain of theatres from Cordova to Fairbanks. Lathrop also pioneered the broadcasting industry in the Alaska with his formation of the Midnight Sun Broadcasting Company that included KFAR in Fairbanks and KENI in Anchorage.
- The construction of the 4th Avenue Theatre marks a shift in the development in Anchorage. When the theatre opened, the Anchorage Daily News stated, "The theatre is a landmark in the transition of Anchorage from a frontier community to a city of permanence. It is a landmark in the development of a city in which families live, work, play, and die." The theatre's thick concrete walls epitomize the permanence of the building.
- The 4th Avenue Theatre murals express regionalism through the Art Deco style. Each mural is essentially plaster bas-relief colored with gold and silver leaf. The two floor-to-ceiling murals that flank the screen depict the industry and commerce of Alaska. The third mural located in the lobby is a three-dimensional representation of Mount McKinley. The fourth mural located near the grand staircase to the second floor is a variety of wildlife scenes.
- A. B. Heinsbergen and Frank Bouman designed the interior space of the theatre while working closely with Priteca and Porreca. Heinsbergen decorated the interiors of 741 theatres throughout the world. Their color scheme of rose, chartreuse and light blue is still evident. Both designers honed their skills in earlier Art Deco theatres such as the Pantages in Los Angeles. A moviegoer to the first showing at the 4th Avenue Theatre commented, "Touring the theatre's ultra-gorgeous interior, is like walking through a kaleidoscope."
- See the 4th Avenue on the "Cinema Treasures" historic theater website:" with this link: http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/450/comments