The historic Odem Theater building in downtown Redmond is slowly starting to resemble a movie house after decades not being used. Though it is planned to be a bit different than the cinema that opened in 1937.
Ted Eady, 58, and his son, Evan, 26, are turning the Odem into a modern day movie pub. When finished, the Odem Theater Pub will have two screens featuring first run films, with food and drinks brought to customers’ seats by wait staff.
The Eadys started demolition on the interior of the building, located at 349 SW 6th Street, in 2014. They poured a new foundation for the building in January of this year.
The Eadys have done most of the work themselves, to this point, which has been tough since Ted had knee replacement surgery last month. They are finally turning some of the task over to electrical and plumbing professionals.
But the frame of the two theaters, as well as a bar area near the entrance, is now in place. That includes a 500-pound projector pod, which they hoisted into place between the two theaters. Two digital projectors, controlled remotely from the bar area, will be installed to show movies on the 18-foot-wide screens.
“It’s going to be state of the art cinema projection and sound,” Ted Eady said.
Ted Eady said he has invested about $30,000 and countless hours into the theater, so far. He’s already bought seats, speakers and other items that will be installed after a bit more work is completed.
The Eadys have an ambitious goal of getting the Odem, with two 40 seat theaters, open to the public by February 2017.
Ted Eady, a former home developer who first moved to the area in 1987, bought the building, which had turned into vacant retail space with its sloped theater floor built over, in 2000. Parts of the floor can still be seen in the building’s basement.
The theater had been open until at least January 1968, eight years after it was sold by original owners Milton and Flossie Odem, said Trish Pinkerton, a member of the city’s Historic Landmarks Commission.
Eady seems to concur on that date, having talked to a man who claimed to see “Planet of the Apes,” which opened in 1968, at the Odem.
After the theater closed, it housed a succession of businesses, including Jazzercise and Taekwondo studios, Pinkerton said.
The Odems initially opened the Mayfair Theater in the 200 block of SW Sixth Street, before making Redmond a two-theater town by opening the Odem in 1937, according to Spokesman archives. They opened the palindromic-named Odem Medo Drive-In in 1953. The drive-in closed in 1978 and its site is now the home of Albertsons and the Redmond Cinemas. The grocery store is still located on Odem Medo Way, which took its name from the drive-in.
The Odem Theater, meanwhile, sat vacant until Eady tried to sell it in 2006. But he ended up taking it back when the new buyer ran into financial troubles during the Great Recession.
Ted Eady was unsure what to do with the theater until he went with Evan, who was working toward his degree in film studies at Willamette University, to an art house theater trade show that was associated with the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. There, they were inspired by a speech by Tim League, who founded the popular Alamo Drafthouse Cinema chain with his wife, Karrie.
League talked about leaving his job with an oil company to start theaters and being inspired by McMenamins theaters in Portland. Those also deliver quality food to movie-goers’ seats.
Having Evan, with his film experience, on board has made getting the best movie equipment easier, Ted Eady said.
“Evan’s got a lot of unique perspectives that we wouldn’t have if it were just me,” Ted said.
The theater will be unique in Central Oregon, Ted Eady said. While McMenamins shows movies at its Old St. Francis School in Bend, he said they are second run films shown in more of a living room environment, rather than a traditional theater.
Ted Eady plans to show movies that either don’t play at all or are only shown briefly at the Redmond Cinemas. That includes movies like “Deepwater Horizon,” “Sully,” and “Hell or High Water.”
“Those are the kind of movies we are looking for, that are highly rated by the critics and highly rated by audiences,” he said.
The Eadys hope to be able to play four movies during a week, keeping them for four weeks each.
They even plan to borrow an idea from Alamo Drafthouse by showing preshow videos using clips taken from the internet. The clips are designed to be unique to each feature film.
Eventually, the Eadys would like to add two more screens, with seating for 75 people in each theater. They own the vacant land next door, and could expand the kitchen to the lower level of the Odem, below the one they are working on now, to accommodate larger crowds.
The basement could also be used to store kegs of beer, with lines transporting the beer upstairs, Ted Eady said.
They are also looking to restore the marquee outside the theater. While working on the building, the Eadys found letters spelling “Odem” that they believe were on the theater’s sign before its 1947 renovation. They would like to make the marquee resemble how it looked before the renovation, so they are asking for help with photos or other information about what it looked like.
“We don’t know exactly what we’re doing with it,” Evan Eady said of the marquee.
They also found wood from the Odem’s original stage, which they would like to use for the new bar.
The reaction to the project has been overwhelmingly positive, Ted Eady said.
“Everybody, when I tell them what I’m doing, they say, ‘That’s a great idea,’ ” he said. “Lots of times when you try something new, people like to poke fun at it. That hasn’t happened at all.”
— Reporter: 541-548-2186, email@example.com