Beaverton = A Star Wars Mecca
“May the 4th Be With You”, a.k.a. International Star Wars Day (May 4th) is soon upon us and in recognition of this important holiday, we thought we would share a little Beaverton Star Wars history:
600 SW Cedar Hills Boulevard, the vacant site currently seeking a development partner, next to the new Brannon’s Brew Pub, is also the former site of the Westgate Theater. With over 3200 yards of “fine drapery”, it was heralded as the “epitome of elegance” when it opened. In all of it’s elegance, it became famous in 1977 when it held the longest run of the original Star Wars movie in the country!
Unlike today, movies back then only opened in one or two theaters in town – ‘exclusive engagements’ – giving the impression you were privileged they were playing near you at all. Star Wars, however, arrived with huge fanfare at only one theater in the Portland area…the Westgate Tri-Cinema. Also unlike today, all theaters were leased movies from the studio for basically the same amount of time each. When it finally became time for Westgate to hand over their copy, it was to be replaced with Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Once again Westgate had been selected as one of the exclusive theaters. Except, the studio never sent Close Encounter. Westgate had even spent money advertising the regional release of the movie. In retaliation for not receiving Close Encounters, the theater ended up suing the studio (20th Century Fox)…and kept Star Wars. As Westgate was therefore the only theater to still have it in the country at that time, it became a destination, with Star Wars zealots flying to Portland from all over the world, just so they could check-out the movie on the big screen one more time.
And that is why Beaverton is on the map!
If you are interested in getting into the spirit this year, the Beaverton Library is hosting three days of Star Wars fun:
May the Fourth
Saturday, May 2-Monday, May 4 | All Day | Throughout the Library
Calling all Droids, Siths, Rebels and Jedis of all ages—come celebrate all things Star Wars. During three fun-filled days, participants can test their Star Wars trivia knowledge, compose odes to their favorite Star Wars moments and characters, create Star Wars-related art and check out books to fuel their research into the Empire, the Rebellion, and the hero in popular culture. Activities, trivia and fun will be taking place throughout the weekend.