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Egyptian (Ada) Theatre - 2/8 Robert Morton (original)
Boise, Idaho
700 West Main
 
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Ada console, date unknown
 
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Ada Theatre interior, data unknown
 
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Ada Theatre, c.1937
 

Egyptian console
The Egyptian Theatre opened in 1927 and is said to be the best remaining example of Egyptian-revival style, popular after the Egyptian tombs were discovered in the 1920's.
 
The theatre was designed by Tourtellotte and Hummel and originally sat 1200.
 
The theatre was later renamed "Ada" although the exact date is unknown. In the 1970's, the name Egyptian was returned.
 
The organ is a 1927 2m/8r Robert-Morton, opus 2298. It is installed in two chambers. The Boise-based ETOS "Egyptian" ATOS Chapter was formed in 1983. Interior photos courtesy of ETOS.
 
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Elaborate proscenium decoration
 
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Gaylord Carter - April 17, 1975
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Percussions
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Solo chamber
B&W photos, courtesy Paul Arndt
 
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Egyptian exterior, c.1990s
 
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Looking West on Main St, glimpse of the Egyptian Theatre on right, c.1950
 
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News article from the Idaho Statesman, 1997. Click for a larger version.


Boise's Old 'Ada' Becomes Newer 'Egyptian.'
Morton Playing 100%

Excerpt from The Console magazine, September 1979 (v17, No 9, pp10):
 
By Warren Lubbock
 
There have been frequent stories in The Console regarding saving old theatres and I have been involved with one of these that is quite interesting. It is the mini-movie palace in Boise, Idaho.
 
Although originally opened as the Egyptian in the year 1927, it has been more recently known as the Ada Theatre. Urban renewal reared its ugly head some time back and the theatre was slated for demolition as part of the project. However, businessman Earl Hardy stepped in with the sum, of $115,000 in 1977 and purchased the structure. It was in July of that year that I did my first concert and silent movie program there. Then in 1978 I returned for another show. On the night of my concert Hardy was introduced to the audience and unveiled his plans for the restoration of the theatre.
 
It was a happy occasion for all those present, and an even happier one for those that came to my return program this year to see the finished job.
 
Seating has been reduced from the original 1200 to about 850 with much more comfortable seats. The lobby has been expanded greatly and new restrooms constructed.
 
The auditorium has been left intact in its Egyptian motif. Large Sphinx sit majestically in front of each organ chamber and very detailed, handpainted columns on each side of the proscenium add to the atmospheric interior. There are two sets of small side balconies to give somewhat of a courtyard feeling and the ceiling is lighted to represent the night sky (but there aren't any twinkling stars or fleecy floating clouds around this one).
 
The newest projection equipment has been put in the booth and a new sound system installed.
 
Boise Architect Frederick C. Hummel designed the theatre ad I believe his architect-son was the man who carried out restoration work which cost $400,000 and was partially funded by the National Historic Preservation Act.
 
*Organ Fully Playable*
 
The organ is a 2m/8r Robert-Morton, installed in 1927, and erected in two chambers. It is the only box of whistles I have ever played that still has its second touch pedal operating.
 
Interestingly, the organ was purchased shortly before Hardy took ownership of the theatre by a group called the Egyptian Foundation, headed up by Architect Ron Thurber. They were determined not to let the instrument leave Boise.
 
Boise audiences are always appreciative and a pleasure to play for. This year I did Mary Pickford in "Sparrows" and a Laurel and Hardy comedy entitled "Liberty". Of course the sing-along is one of the highlights of any silent film evening.
 
The theatre has been operated for many years by the Plitt chain. It will continue to be under their direction, but no longer will it be known as the Ada - the old Egyptian name has been restored. It is now the new Egyptian!"
 


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