“This is such an iconic piece of Tacoma history, and a staple of growing up in the Proctor District.”

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Tucked neatly in Tacoma’s Proctor District is the oldest continuously operating theater in Washington state. The 205-seat Blue Mouse Theatre is a treasured community staple, showing a select variety of vintage and modern classic films and providing a perfect centralized community event space to the heart of the city.


The Blue Mouse exists primarily as a “community oriented business”. We provide a place for the community to gather, and find significant success in our capacity to make the Proctor Business district a more connected and engaging neighborhood. In the original prospectus survey for the incorporation of the Blue Mouse Partners, “financial return” was quite a low priority for the majority of investors. We have been and will continue to be focused primarily on the community with the business aspects of the Blue Mouse working to serve that primary focus.

The Blue Mouse contributes to Proctor by being relevant, current, inviting and exciting.

That primary focus established, we are also stewards of a business and a building. We owe our shareholders a financially responsible stewardship of this business and building.

bluemouse-oldOn Tuesday evening, November 13, 1923, John Hamrick’s Blue Mouse Theatre had its Grand Opening on Proctor Street. It was named after a lounge in Paris, France, which showed the latest rage, ‘flicks’.

“A spectacular melodrama” called The Green Goddess was the first ‘picture show’ projected on the theatre’s ‘silent screen’. The headline in the Tacoma News Tribune called it the “Finest Suburban Theater in the Northwest”. The account in the newspaper the next day stated that “every one of the 220 seats was occupied and a good sized overflow greeted the management”.

Hamrick, a Northwest movie house impresario, operated the prospering community theater until it was purchased in 1945 by Glen Spencer. Spencer renamed the theater the Proctor Theatre and ran it as a
family business for almost 30 years until he sold it in 1973 to Will Connor, a former theater manager for John Hamrick.

As 1978 neared its years end, so did Conner Theater Corporation's ownership of the Proctor Theatre. A group of young Seattleites (all between the ages of 23 and 27) purchased the Proctor Theatre with high
ambitions of turning the venue around. The Proctor Theatre became The Bijou. The new owners, headed by brothers Jeff and Greg Radiske and Jeff's wife Paula, leapt into the theater business after Greg took a film history course at Pacific Lutheran University and talked his brother into buying into the for-sale Proctor.

Unable to create the success anticipated, in February 1981, the Bijou was sold to Galaxy Theaters (an
independent theatre chain) under the management of President Wayne Kullander. the owners turned their theater over to a new operator, Steve McCoy.

Threatened by a proliferation of huge theater chain multiplexes, hard times fell upon neighborhood movie theaters in the late 80s, Galaxy sold the Bijou to Shirley Mayo. The Bijou operated as one of a few movie houses in Tacoma not owned by a large theater chain. Then Shirley Mayo was approached by developers interested in utilizing the real estate for other purposes.

Concerned about the potential demise of the community theater, Shirley reached out to Proctor community. In 1993 a small group of activists and preservationists joined together to purchased and restore the property. The group came together under the name “Blue Mouse Associates”.

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 same was the case with interior renovation. 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. At 100-years-old, the Blue Mouse is a community treasure and one of the very oldest continuously operating movie theaters in the country.