Star (Medford)

Star Theater

Dates of Operation: September 23, 1911-1918

22 E. Main Street, Medford, Oregon


 

Owners/managers: D. L. Sharits (a former Hollywood cameraman turned Medford local filmmaker), A.C. Burgess (leased from the People’s Amusement Company), Al Sather (who also managed Portland, Oregon theaters: the Star—later called the Pickford—the Tivoli, and the Crystal through his connections with the People’s Amusement Company and the Ideal Amusement Company).

Programming notes: “Mr. Sather [a manager of the Star theater] believes the success of suburban houses depends on special nights and to carry out his idea, he arranges to run his serials on Monday and Tuesday, educational features for school children on Wednesday, amateurs on Thursday, big features on Friday and Saturday and a blended bill on Sunday. He does not vary from this plan and his patrons know each night what they are going to get. Mr. Sather sings at each performance.” (From the December 12, 1915 edition of The Moving Picture World trade journal.)

The Star also presented frequent fundraising nights to benefit local schools and other charitable causes.

Manager D.L. Sharits made a film series titled “Made in Medford” which he showed in his own Star Theatre. Subjects of the film varied, but the most popular one depicted Medford schoolchildren running and playing around town. His last film was a comedy/mystery titled “The Stolen Pie” and it cast some of Medford’s most notable residents. According to an interview with Medford nativeMargaret LaPlante, this picture attracted 5,000 people.

Admission prices ranged from 10 cents of a typical ticket to 25 cents for special programming or fundraiser events.

Sample news clips, advertisements:

An announcement for the remodel of the Medford Furniture Company into the Star Theatre, found in the August 17, 1911 edition of the Medford Mail Tribune. The remodel reportedly cost $5,000.

 

From the September 21, 1911 edition of the Medford Mail Tribune.
From the December 12, 1915 edition of The Moving Picture World trade journal.
Interestingly, The Star Theatre took out this advertisement which told the Medford audience that they could see Oliver Twist at their theatre for only ten cents, versus the two dollars charged at the Empire Theatre.
Medford Mail Tribune, November 17, 1913.
Medford Mail Tribune, April 1, 1913.
This is an example of a crossover promotional strategy. The ad reads “The May Company Have Engaged the Star theater for a special matinee.” The picture show at the women-only matinee event was of a corset fitting, titled “How Marjorie Won a Career”. The ad predicted a spike in sales for theatre tickets and corsets sold in town by the May Company. Medford Mail Tribune, October 20, 1915.

 

Citations:

Medford Mail Tribune [Medford, Oregon] September 21, 1911. Published: Print.
Medford Mail Tribune [Medford, Oregon] December 12, 1915. Published: Print.
Medford Mail Tribune [Medford, Oregon] November 17, 1913. Published: Print
Medford Mail Tribune [Medford, Oregon]  September 13, 1912. p 6. Published: Print.
Medford Mail Tribune [Medford, Oregon]  April 1, 1913. p 6. Published: Print.
Medford Mail Tribune [Medford, Oregon]  October 30, 1915. Published: Print.
Medford Mail Tribune [Medford, Oregon]  August 17, 1911. Published: Print.
Patton, Shirley and Margaret LaPlant. “The Star Theatre.” The Southern Oregon Historical Society. January 5, 2006.