Most of us have had the opportunity to see at least a movie or two at Tacoma’s historic Blue Mouse Movie Theater over the years. Some of us have had the chance to go there regularly for decades, as the Blue Mouse is Washington State’s oldest continuously operated movie theater!
The theater was originally called, “The Blue Mouse Jr.” and opened to a packed audience on November 13th 1923. A silent film called, “The Green Goddess” was shown to 420 attendees accompanied by a live organ. Set during the British Raj, it stars George Arliss as the Rajah of Rukh, into whose land arrive three British subjects, played by Alice Joyce, David Powell, and Harry T. Morey.
The theater experienced a number of name changes over the years. In 1932 the name was changed to The Proctor. In 1978 it became The Bijou, where they showed vintage movies, 2 for $2.25. Finally in 1993 it became The Blue Mouse once again, when local investors (today called the Blue Mouse Associates) refurbished the interior and exterior. Dale Chihuly designed the dancing blue mice on the Marquee.
Under layers of paint, wood veneer and glass tiles put on in the ‘30s and ‘40s they discovered the original Craftsman-style timbering, stucco, brick pillars, globe light sconces, polished marble terrazzo and original mahogany doors. The theater’s original architectural charm was rediscovered in craftsmen staircases, chandelier surround, an ornate trellis around the proscenium arch, decorated capitals atop side wall columns and Tiffany-style glass exit signs. The Blue Mouse History
Nowadays the theater shows everything from current releases to seasonal showings and classics. It also regularly shows the cult classic “The Rocky Horror Picture Show.” They also rent the theater for private showings and special events.