Dragonfly History and Current News

The following is a historical timeline of the Dragonfly Cinema as researched by Sugarloaf Studios, Jennifer Stone & Ron Potter. Also, we have listed below the modern day news events related to the Dragonfly Cinema.

Historical Timeline

1914: Harry Ward, the diligent photographer of Port Orchard, opens a moving picture theater with his wife, the former Mary Bivins from Port Townsend. (HLO, By Catherine Hinchliff, October 12, 2010) (KCH, Book V, p.41). It was in the Applegate Building at 731 Bay St., next to Myrhe's Restaurant, and was called Star Liberty Theater. (Brochure showing historic sites in Port Orchard, partly attributed to Fred Chang, published July 2005 and KCH p. 41, sec. V). The first film shown was the Perils of Pauline. (POI, Nov. 24, 1966) The Polk's Bremerton & Kitsap County directories for 1920-21 and 1923-24 both list the name of the theatre as just "Liberty Theatre". (PBKC, 1920-21 and 1923-24)

1919: Harry Ward sells the Star Liberty Theater. (KCH p. 41, sec. V) The buyer was Harry Howe. (POI, Nov. 24, 1966)

1920 (est.): Harry Howe tried for a bout a year to make a go of it before selling out to J. A. McGill. (POI, Nov. 24, 1966)

1920-1924: J.A. McGill operates the theatre at 731 Bay St. (POI, Nov. 24, 1966). The name changes to McGill Theatre as that name is found on photo #299 at the Sydney Museum and Arts Association. The photo is labeled "~1920" and was probably taken by Harry Ward. (SMAA, examination of a photo from their files)

1924-1928: The Knights of Pythias build a meeting hall at 820-822 Bay Street and then lease the lower floor as a movie theater. (KS, Aug. 21, 2008) The first operator at this location was John McGill. (BS, Nov. 25, 1977) (POI, Nov. 24, 1966). The theater name changes to Community Theater during this time. (POI, Nov. 24, 1966)

1928: Rex Thompson and J.G. Beckman buy the theater from McGill and later named it the D&R after Thompson's twin sons, Don and Ron. McGill moves his theater operation to Annapolis Hall. Thompson and Beckman completely refurbished and remodeled the interior of the auditorium and had a gala grand opening on May 5, 1928 with the showing of West Point, a "snappy, scrappy always happy" film of football, romance and military life with William Haines and Joan Crawford in the starring roles. When the theater is renamed it soon gained a neon sign, which was new technology at the time. (POI, Nov. 24, 1966) (BS, Nov. 25, 1977)

1965: The D&R closes down. Towards the end of the D&R period lack of maintenance and problems with drainage caused it to acquire the nickname of Dirty and Ratty. (POI, Nov. 24, 1966) (BS, Nov. 25, 1977) Virgil Reames at the Sydney Museum recalls this time but remembers that his group called it the Dirt & Rat, and remarked that the front three rows were blocked off due to flooding on very high tide days. (SMAA, May 3, 2011)

1965-1980: The Theater is dark, "boarded up". (KS, Aug. 21, 2008) There was some use for rummage sales and as a gym for a youth boxing program. (BS, Nov. 25, 1977)

1977: Don Brown, the owner of the Islander Theater on Vashon appears as a potential savior of the theater, but his plans apparently fail after acquiring 300 antique theater seats from the Seattle Seventh Avenue Theater, formerly the Music Hall, as part of his remodeling plans. (BS, Nov. 25, 1977)

1980-1996: Theater operates as Plaza Twin Theater, first under the ownership of a group of 13 Port Orchard businessmen including Robert "Bob" Geiger. Remodeling includes glass doors, aggregate paving in front, a new ticket booth, seats, curtains and a chipped marble surface in the entrance. Used seats are from Seattle's Northgate Theater. The building was purchased at this time from the Knights of Pythias for $50,000 and remodeling costs came to $200,000. (BS, Feb. 22, 1980). These renovations take care of the old dirt and rat and damp. Drainage is repaired. The city puts back flow preventers in place to stop high tide from forcing water back into buildings. (SMAA, conversation with Virgil Reames, May 3, 2011)

1981: South Kitsap Mall (renamed Towne Square Mall in 2005 by new owners), opens on Mile Hill with the first escalator in Kitsap County. This marks a turning point for Plaza Twin as shoppers start to turn away from coming downtown to shop. (POI, Jan 27 2009 and Feb 19 2005) (SMAA, conversation with Virgil Reames, May 3, 2011) (KS July 26, 2008)

1990: South Sound Cinema 10 Opens. (An interview with Robert Geiger.)

Things were good. Then, in 1990, the 10-screen South Sound Cinema went in up on Mile Hill. The Plaza, which was only licensed for second-run flicks, just couldn't compete.

"Around 1996, it was getting pretty skinny," Geiger said. (KS, May 14, 2007)

1996-2005: Bob Geiger acquires sole control of Plaza Twin. (KS, Nov. 4, 2007)

2005 May: Plaza Twin Theater closed by Bob Geiger. (POI, Geiger Pharmacy Turns 50, May 23, 2007)

2007 October 12: Jeff Brein and his partner Sam Granato announce reopening theater as The Orchard. (POI, Theater Re-opening, Oct. 27, 2007)

2007 December: Orchard Theater opens after spending $50,000 on renovations and shows mostly independent and foreign films. (KS, Dec. 30, 2010 article discussing the closure)

2010 Dec 30: Far Away Entertainment owner Jeff Brein closes Historic Orchard Theater. It was open for 3 years. (POI, Dec. 30, 2010 and KS, Dec. 30, 2010)

May 2011: Theater becomes Dragonfly Cinema, as new owner Gryphon Shafer explains his "evolving" plans to an audience of REEL Friends at the theater. (KS, May 2, 2011)

January 2016: Theater changes ownership to a new owner: Nick Taylor.

Historical Timeline by Sugarloaf Studios, Jennifer Stone & Ron Potter

Adobe PDF You can download the historical flyer we have displayed in the lobby of the cinema. It requires Adobe PDF to view.

Dragonfly Cinema in the News

Shafer "takes the baton," brings movies back to downtown Port Orchard

May 22, 2011

Michael C. Moore of the Kitsap Sun wrote an article talking about our upcoming May 27 opening. A big thank-you is due to the legion of volunteers, Far Away, Robert Geiger, and several others who have helped this dream become reality. (Please pay no attention to the odd looking man wearing a gray sweatshirt.)

Volunteers have a role in Dragonfly Cinema

May 2, 2011

Chris Henry of the Kitsap Sun wrote an article covering our May 1 Town Hall meeting. We had a fantastic group of passionate folks show up, somewhere around 80 people. It was wonderful to see, meet, and listen to everyone. There were some really great ideas shared.

Reels to roll again in Port Orchard

April 22, 2011

Steven Gardner of the Kitsap Sun wrote a preliminary article about the emergence of the Dragonfly. Just a couple of clarifications: Gnomeo and Juliet and In a Better World are Steven's suggestions rather than the Dragonfly's directly. However, we'd like to continue the tradition of being very open to the suggestions and feedback of our patrons. As crazy as a "quote night" for a movie like "The Princess Bride" may sound like, we've heard from a number of folks who'd love such an event.

http://www.kitsapsun.com/news/2011/apr/22/reels-to-roll-again-in-port-orchard/

Abbreviations Used for References

BS - Bremerton Sun has published in Bremerton, WA since 1935. The UW library has copies from 1935-date according to Wikipedia. It has been owned by Scripps Newspaper Group since 1940. It is now The Kitsap Sun and owned by the E.W. Scripps Company.

HLO - Historylink.org, The Free Online Encyclopedia of Washington State History.

KCH - Kitsap County History: A Story of Kitsap County and Its Pioneers (Silverdale: Kitsap County Historical Society, 1977). The KCHS is working on a new edition of this volume now.

KS - A name change from The Sun. The Bremerton Sun became the The Sun in 1984, and then the Kitsap Sun in 2004. See BS.

PBKC - Polk's Bremerton & Kitsap County city directories.

POI - Port Orchard Independent newspaper. The paper founded in 1891, lost most of their archives in a fire in the 70s but UW has many issues on microfilm according to Office Manager, Jan French.

SMAA - Sydney Museum and Arts Association in downtown Port Orchard. Information is from conversation with Virgil Reames who is their photo expert.

Dragonfly Cinema. Story Matters.

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Now Playing This Week

These are our confirmed and fully scheduled movies and events currently playing at the Dragonfly Cinema. Stop by, pick up some of the best popcorn in Puget Sound, and enjoy the show.

LBJ

LBJ

Loving Vincent

Loving Vincent

BPM

BPM

Breathe

Breathe

The Room

The Room


Coming Soon

These are movies and events we have confirmed for the dates shown. We may not always have exact times available, but the dates are for sure.

Blade of the Immortal

Blade of the Immortal

  • Fri, Nov 24- Tue, Nov 28
Elf

Elf

  • Fri, Dec 1- Tue, Dec 5
  • Free Showings Dec 2nd for Chimes and Lights!
  • 11:30, 12:30, 2:00, 3:00, 4:30, 5:30, 7:00
The Rocky Horror Picture Show

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

  • Sat, December 2nd: Doors at 9:30!
  • 35mm print, live cast, prop bags provided
The Square

The Square

  • Fri, Dec 1- Tue, Dec 5
All Dogs go to Heaven

All Dogs go to Heaven

  • Fri, Dec 8- Tue, Dec 12
  • G, 1 hr. 25 min.
Wonderstruck

Wonderstruck

  • Fri, Dec 8- Tue, Dec 12
Thelma

Thelma

  • Fri, Dec 15- Tue, Dec 19
The Breadwinner

The Breadwinner

  • Fri, Dec 22- Tue, Dec 26

Stuff We're Working On

These are movies and events we are trying to schedule, but they are not confirmed. Some times you see here may end up not working out. However, if displayed here, there's a better than good chance we'll be able to officially schedule the movie or event.

Lady Bird

Lady Bird

The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist

The Florida Project

The Florida Project

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The Killing of a Sacred Deer