Saint Johns Twin Cinema and Pub
A murdered Vaudevillian Actor yearns to be back on stage…
He tries to be a positive, supportive force.
This 1911, two story theater building is described as being a much beloved, small, locally-owned, homey, two screen theater with a pub. It is a family-owned theater that does its best to offer a family-friendly experience, along with films for the 8:00 pm mature 21 and over crowd. They serve excellent popcorn, great pizza, and locally brewed beer. They show first run movies at bargain prices. They offer family matinees.
Most popular movies are in the larger downstairs theater, and the other movie plays in the smaller upstairs theater. You can take your beverage, hard cider and other drinks and snacks into the theater. Certain seats in the theater also come with tables so that a pitcher can be split among friends or couples.
St. Johns Twin Cinema building was originally built to be a theater to offer dramatic arts/vaudeville productions. In 1911, The People’s Amusement Company, led by C.A. Metzger built in the town of St. Johns; “a concrete, two and a half story, 50 ft by 100 ft structure, that cost a whopping $30,000! The construction firm of The Bickner Brothers did the honors.
When the theatre, called the Multnomah Theatre, opened to a throng of enthusiastic community members that same year, it featured a six hundred and fifty seat auditorium, and a roller rink. Later, a bowling alley was added. It became an entertainment center, with family activities to enjoy as well. It underwent a name change not long after opening, and was called “St. Johns Theater.”
By 1914, adjustments were made to the theater to also offer films, according to the June 18th, 1914 article in The Oregonian paper, entitled “St. Johns Accepts Films. They had an organ as well, to play music for the silent films.
Throughout the years, the people in this community embraced their theater, loyally supporting it throughout all the changes in ownership.
In 1926, it opened with a name change: “The Venetian”. In 1937, the theater was sold again and it reopened as “St Johns”. The theater made the change to showing talkies, and continued to entertain their patrons throughout the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s.
In 1960, it changed owners once again, and was called the “Northgate Theater,” and continued to be well-supported by the community.
By 1983, the theater was in need of TLC, and David A. Jones and David H. Evans fully renovated it. It reopened with a familiar name; St. Johns Theater. The main floor was the new home to theater 1 with 350 seats, and the upstairs space was now a theater of 225 seats. There was some damage done when some fool threw a fire cracker through the open window of the little apartment located above the theater space, landing in a waste basket.
In 2004, the theater was again restored to its original glory by artistic owners who also created a pub to serve drinks and a kitchen to cook snacks like popcorn and pizza. Tables were added to certain sections of the theaters so people could enjoy their drinks and snacks while enjoying a first-run movie.
It long has had a reputation of being a family theater. In 1915, the manager and owners of the theater were supportive of Portland Mayor’s appointed censor board members’ recommendations before it became mandatory to do so; beginning with a film, The House of Bondage; based on the novel, The House of Bondage by Reginald Wright Kaufmann (New York, 1910). St. John’s Theater refused to show the film at all.
This was a silent film with a social justice message, that told the story of a woman forced into prostitution by a boyfriend, and her misadventures of being trapped in a reputation even after escaping, being rejected by everyone, including her own father. She was finally rescued by a kind man.
The story was a realistic portrayal of what was happening in Portland, in the city’s Shanghai Tunnels. The subject of forced prostitution wasn’t considered an appropriate film for the public, especially children. There were probably implied sex scenes in it, mild by today’s standards, but probably shocking to a 1915 audience.
While the film in reality wasn’t appropriate for children or sensitive adults, there was probably an ulterior motive, besides the subject content of the film. Politicians like the Mayor of Portland at the time were probably getting a kick-back for looking the other way, to what was happening in the Shanghai Tunnels underneath the city of Portland, and didn’t want the forced prostitution in Portland to stop. Prostitution wasn’t shut down in the tunnels until 1941, because demand for prostitutes dried up when WW2 began. The tunnels were finally chained up for good.
In 2004, St Johns Theater continued in the theater’s tradition of offering family matinees. They continued to offer during the fall and spring months through the PTA at local schools a movie package so that all children and their parents can enjoy a movie together. Adults are admitted for free into the theater during these kids’ matinees only if they are accompanied by their child. The cost for this very affordable package was ten movies for $6.00.
Rated R films are shown at the 8:00 showings, and no one under 21 can attend, probably because of the beer and alcohol being served.
Besides enjoying the support of their community for so many years, a male spirit person is also an enthusiastic supporter of the theater and the people who own it and work here.
HISTORY OF MANIFESTATIONS
People who love what they are doing, especially anything in the arts, sometimes want to continue performing, especially if they died suddenly in an unfair way before their time;(murdered), or sudden unexpected manner from illness or accident.
The entity that calls St. Johns Twin Cinemas home originates from the very earliest times of this theater when it was a Vaudeville showcase venue. A male Vaudeville performer was unfortunately murdered outside in an alley behind this theater.
Entity of Vaudeville Actor
Seen with a Top Hat and a Cape by psychic individuals.
Considers himself to be part of “the team,” and tries to be helpful.
Staff, and owners feel an unseen presence who watches them, and accompanies them as they go about their business.
This entity likes to get attention from the living, playfully finding ways to startle and surprise.
It hasn’t been specifically spelled out what has happened, but perhaps this entity, turns on and off electrical devices, moves items, causes cold spots, cool winds, and even may appear or say people’s names. He knew the manager’s name, and called him “Jeremy.”
Missing Mattress Caper
Jeremy Longstreet, owner of the St. Johns Theater, recounts an unexplainable story about a mattress that disappeared, and reappeared, in an abandoned room above the theater.
This real-life ghost story, and the paranormal investigation that followed, is the subject of the video, “The Ghost of the St. Johns Theater”.
Yes Indeed! The staff and owners have had many personal experiences with this entity throughout the years.
Northern Oregon Paranormal Investigators hit the paranormal jack pot, gathering information that can take many investigations to gather in just one investigation. Through direct communication that was recorded, the male spirit person told them who he was, how he died, that he wants to perform desperately, and he is lonely. So, he communicated to them that he tries to be part of the team, looks after the people involved, while trying to let them know that he is there with them.
What a relief to all involved with St. Johns Twin Cinema that this entity is nothing to fear, as he is very loving, caring, a great guy and gentle person who wants the theater to succeed and thrive. He cares about the owners and staff, and watches over them.
Everyone who has worked at this theater have had experiences with this male entity who still yearns to be on stage. But though he can’t perform any more, he does the next best thing; he keeps them company, playfully lets them know that he is with them and does his best to try to be a positive force.
In 2010, Northern Oregon Paranormal Investigations, led by psychic Sethyn Brayan, held an investigation at the theater. They not only caught hard evidence that proves the existence of the theater’s entity, but also found out a wealth of complete information directly from the spirit via K2 monitors and video.
St. John’s Theatre
8704 North Lombard Street
Portland, OR 97203
The St. Johns Twin Cinema and Pub is located in the St. Johns Neighborhood of Portland Oregon. It straddles the intersection of N. Lombard Street and N. Alta Avenue. This fairly good-sized building also spreads down both streets that intersect at the corner. It is not to be confused with the McMenamin’s St. Johns Theater and Pub, located just 5 blocks east on North Ivanhoe and N. Richmond Ave., probably the main competition for St. Johns Twin Cinema.
- St. Johns Twin Cinema page on Wikipedia
- St. Johns Twin Cinema page on cinematreasures.org
- St. Johns Cinema page on jubilationphotography.com
- Video: “The ghost of the St. Johns Twin” on oregonlive.com
Our Haunted Paranormal Stories are Written by Julie Carr