The Infamous Black Bird Southern Oregon History, Revised

The Savoy Theater

Savoy Theater Sign, Central Point

    The Medford Brick Company commenced laying brick Monday on the new building which J. C. Hall is building on North Front Street. The building will be 50 by 75 feet in size. There will be two 25 by 75-foot rooms, one of which will be occupied by a moving picture show, and the other by a restaurant. Mr. Hall expects to take out the front to the adjoining billiard hall and put in one similar to the fronts which will be put in for the new rooms.
"Local Happenings," Medford Mail, May 29, 1908, page 2

Medford Daily Tribune, October 1, 1908

Medford Can Now Boast of Finest Small Theater in Southern Oregon.
    What is without doubt the most elegantly finished playhouse in southern Oregon was completed Wednesday in J. C. Hall's new building on d'Anjou [Front] Street, and will be thrown open to the public this evening. It embraces all of the conveniences of a modern metropolitan theater in having elegant seats, sloping floor and a splendidly finished interior.
    It was some months ago that Hubbard & Sears, proprietors of the popular "Bijou," on West Seventh Street, realized that there must be some steps taken to accommodate the show-loving populace of this city.  They could see no other way to accomplish this, as they could not increase the capacity of the Bijou, already taxed to overflowing. Studying over the matter, they decided to open a new downtown theater, and succeeded in getting Mr. Hall to build them a theater along up-to-date lines.
    This place has been completed and has been named the Savoy. Mr. Hubbard will take charge of the new location, while Mr. Sears will continue to superintend the Bijou.
    Under the same management that has placed the Bijou upon the plane it now holds among Medford's theatergoers, the Savoy is sure to prosper. Elsewhere in this issue will be found the complete program for tonight's entertainment.
    Medford people may now visit a moving picture show and enjoy the entertainment surrounded with all the luxuries of a first-class metropolitan house.
Medford Daily Tribune, October 1, 1908, page 2

Banner Bill at the Savoy
    Follow the crowd to "The Savoy" tonight and you will see an excellent bill of the latest moving pictures, not pictures shown in the city weeks ago, and advertised as the latest. The headliner tonight is Vitagraph's high art film, "The Sword and the King." This subject is of medieval times and deals with a tyrant and an oppressed people. The story is well constructed and told in a stirring manner by clever actors. The scenic arrangements are beautiful and consistent with the times.
    "Judge Not" is strong drama of home life, teaching the moral "judge not, that ye be not judged." The story is simple yet a strong one and is clearly told, holding your attention from start to finish.
    "Borrowed Clothes" is one of those pleasing comedies full of laughs and abounding with mirth.
    Entire change of program tomorrow night. One dime.
Medford Daily Tribune, September 4, 1909, page 5

    The Christmas matinee given by the management of the Savoy to children under 12 years of age Christmas afternoon was most pleasing. Scores of youngsters became the guests of manager Hubbard, and all united in voting him "a mighty good fellow."
    The Savoy on Friday advertised that they would entertain the children, in the way of making Medford a happy day for them. And all afternoon shouts of childish glee greeted the passerby from within the theater.
    Mr. Hubbard put on a splendid program, one pleasing to the children, and added to the happiness of many a youngster. It was typical of the Christmas spirit, especially that which prevails in Medford.
Medford Mail Tribune, December 26, 1909, page 6

"The Widow of Sterling Mine" Is Title of Picture at Savoy,
Showing Jackson County's Famous Placer--Picture Taken Last Summer.
    A moving picture showing the famous Sterling mine of this county has been received by E. C. Hubbard, manager of the Savoy Theater. He will show the film tonight.
    The mine was made the setting of a comedy enacting by a company imported last summer by the moving picture company, which was interested in local scenery by Mr. Hubbard.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 1, 1911, page 3

"Widow of Sterling Mine" Shown at Savoy Shows Jackson County's Famous Placer Mine
and Power Dam at Gold Ray.
    There is being shown at the Savoy Theatre at present a comedy film, "The Widow of Sterling," in which Jackson County's famous placer mine is shown, as well as the country near Gold Ray, where the power dam and depot is shown. The film, thus depicting local scenes, is of more than ordinary interest to Medford people.
    The picture was taken last summer with a number of others by the Selig Polyscope Company, who were induced to come here by manager E. C. Hubbard of the theatre.
    Mr. Hubbard disclaims writing the libretto for the comedy, but intimate friends are thrusting that honor upon him. The film will be shown for the last time this evening. Others with local setting will follow.
Medford Mail Tribune, January 2, 1911, page 1

The Savoy (right) on North Front, on Labor Day 1911.

Medford Mail Tribune,
July 20, 1911

Plans Changes in Program--Blanchard's Singing Draws Crowds
    R. E. Gordon, proprietor of the Isis Theater, which has been staging such good vaudeville and moving pictures, has purchased the Savoy from J. G. Young and is planning to make many improvements in the program. Beginning today the theater will operate as a strictly moving picture show under the new management. The first film to be shown is that of "Ten Nights in the Bar Room," with its 2000 feet of film, and double numbers will be a specialty with the new Savoy. In with Mr. Gordon is Mr. Slater.
    The popular Isis manager now owns and operates two shows in Medford, and with both under one management will be able to give the city amusement features worth while. The singing of Harry Blanchard at the Isis has long been a drawing card, and Mr. Gordon seems to have the knack of putting those touches to his performances that appeal to the people.
Medford Sun, August 20, 1911, page 1

Savoy Is Sold.
    The Savoy Theater on North Front Street has been purchased by Seely Hall and G. A. Hunt. The popular photoplay theater will continue to show the best licensed films and will be generously patronized by friends of the new proprietors. G. W. Slater, by making this sale, retires from the motion picture business in Medford.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 11, 1911, page 8

The following ads tell the tale of the demise of the Savoy. Note the shifting ownership and declining admission prices:

Medford Mail Tribune,October 11, 1911

Medford Mail Tribune,October 28, 1911

Medford Mail Tribune,January 5, 1912

The January 5th ad above was apparently the Savoy's last hurrah in Medford. In late 1914 Frank Hull reopened the Savoy in Central Point:

Savoy Theater, Central Point

Central Point Herald, January 4, 1915
Central Point Herald,
January 4, 1915
June 17, 1915 Oregonian
Oregonian, June 17, 1915--Apparently for awhile the Savoy went on the road,
reshowing films in Talent on Friday nights.
Savoy Theater ad, Oregonian, August 9, 1915
August 9, 1915

    A deal involving the sale and equipment owned by J. E. Vincent and May Lewis of the F.&E. theater was recently consummated, and the theater will begin operating under the new management on March 1. The purchasers are Mr. Clarence Shafer and Mr. Gerald Owen of Gold Hill, who operate a moving picture theater in that city also.
Medford Mail Tribune, February 27, 1925, page 7

Building and Contents Lost in $3500 Blaze Early This Morning--Origin Unknown--Partially Insured--Owned by Frank Sebrean.
    Fire of undetermined origin completely destroyed the F.&E. Theater building at Central Point shortly before 3 o'clock this morning, causing a loss estimated to exceed $3500. The large structure, well known to motorists passing through Central Point on the Pacific Highway, was the property of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Sebrean and was rebuilt three years ago from a larger building known as the Central Point opera house.
    The fire is said to have started in the rear of the building which was a lurid mass of leaping flames when a discovery was first made by a citizen aroused from early morning slumber by lively crackling.
    Volunteer firemen answered the fire alarm bell in surprising numbers, and due to the stillness of the evening had little trouble in preventing any spread. Two lines of hose with good water pressure were put in play, but the blaze had gained such headway that even walls could not be saved from utter destruction.
    Every piece of equipment the building contained was destroyed, including two moving picture machines and attachments, two pianos, 250 seats, a new screen and curtain. In addition a $350 collection of carpenter's and mechanic's tools, property of Mr. Sebrean, and several sets of valued dishes, owned by Mrs. Sebrean, were also destroyed. The dishes had been used during the summer past at the Jackson Hot Springs resort, where she had been operating an eating establishment in connection with the resort, and only had been placed in the theater a short time ago for winter storage.
    The theater, running moving pictures every night, was opened to the public in March of 1923 and for a year ran under the management of Mr. and Mrs. Sebrean, who leased the establishment to other parties shortly before leaving Central Point for Klamath Falls and California. They returned last summer and since have been giving biweekly dances, one of which, an old-time dance, was held last night. Picture shows had been discontinued for some time.
    When the building was locked last night, an inspection showed no danger of the fire, which broke out three hours later. The loss was partly covered by insurance. The site is regarded as one of the best business corners in Central Point, being at the corner of Main Street and the Pacific Highway.
Medford Mail Tribune, October 16, 1926, page 1

Last revised October 11, 2022