The Bing Crosby Theater

The Clemmer Theatre, now known as the Bing Crosby Theater, was built in 1915 by Edwin W. Houghton. The building was first used as an 800-seat movie theater. The theater was very luxurious with painted murals, 1600 lights, and a grand Kimball organ. In 1929, the building was sold to Universal and renamed Audian. A few years later the theater was once again resold, and it became the State Theater.

The Metropolitan Mortgage Company bought and refurbished the building in 1988, and The Metropolitan Theater of Performing Arts, or The Met, became the new name. When the Metropolitan Mortgage Company went out of business in 2004, Mitch Silver purchased and renamed the property the Bing Crosby Theater. This was in response to a local historian who realized the city needed a landmark to commemorate their most famous entertainer, Bing Crosby. The theater is also recognized on the National Register of Historic Places.

Bing Crosby played some of his earliest musical engagements here. In the summer of 1925, Bing Crosby and Al Rinker were the only two remaining members of their previous band, called the Musicaladers. They were hired at the Clemmer Theatre, as part of a group of entertainers responsible for the intermission and between movies show. The group wrote their own scripts, built their own stage sets, and chose what songs would be appropriate. The idea was to build their mini production around the theme of the movie that would be playing.

For five months, Bing Crosby was free to spread his wings and explore his acting and singing skills. One of the songs Al and Bing sang was "California Here We Come." Two months later, the two men went on a journey that would lead them straight to Hollywood.


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