The Egyptian Theatre, A Boise Legend
When you come into downtown Boise, among all the buildings and parks, there is a building that doesn't quite fit. You may see it out of the corner of your eye-- what’s that? Maybe, you’ll even drive back around to get another look at it and you realize that it’s a theater, but not a normal theater, it’s a theater that looks like an Egyptian tomb.
The Egyptian Theater is an iconic Boise landmark. At first glance it may look like an odd and old building for the growing metropolis of downtown-- what is this big, ancient looking building doing here? But, when you look back into the history of the Egyptian Theater, it makes more sense.
The Theater was built in 1927, during the ‘flapper’ era. It’s Egyptian theme is due to the discovery of King Tut’s tomb just five years previous. With that discovery, everything Egyptian was "cool." The Theater was a very popular place to socialize. It was most likely the first big silver screen to come to Boise and was located on the bustling streets of downtown; people would flock to it to watch the newest films of the day.
Many times during it’s use the Egyptian Theater was remodeled and changed in appearance until the year 1999 when it was restored to the original design-- King Tut’s Tomb. The two story theater has traditional Egyptian awnings to cover the windows, sphinxes on the roof, and is accented by Egyptian bird wings for the ceiling trim. The glass doors to the box office and the classic theater marquee give the structure more of a modern feeling.
Throughout the years, the Egyptian had been used primarily for movies; nowadays it shows older movies, holds concerts and is available for special events like weddings and parties, among other events.
The Egyptian has also been used several times by celebrities and other famous entities. One of these people is Aaron Paul, famous for his roles in Breaking Bad and Big Love, is a native of Emmett Idaho; he has used the Egyptian for personal use. When Breaking Bad was in full swing, he rented the entire Egyptian theater to view an episode of the show and invited anyone to come for free. The Egyptian is the place for a uniquely special event like that.
Another exciting event that has been done in the Egyptian theater was the premier of four blockbuster hit movies. Seabiscuit, The Bourne Identity, Supremacy, Ultimatum, and Legacy were first shown at the Egyptian Theater. Frank Marshall, the creator of Seabiscuit and the Bourne Saga has always had a love for Boise. When he was young, he says, he had some high school friends that settled down here and he used to come to Boise to get a break from Hollywood. Those fond times that he spent here made him decide to make it the spot for his movie premiers.
Matt Damon, star of the first three Bourne movies, has also grown fond of Boise. In an interview with K.T.V.B., he said, "Frank and I, when we're in the middle of making the movie and it's four a.m. and we're panicked and we don't know what the shot's gonna be, we always say someday we're gonna be in Boise with this thing and everything is gonna be done and we're gonna have no pressure on us and so it's turned into this finish line for us.”
When the Egyptian isn't packed with movie stars, it hosts, movies, speakers and other events. In the next few months, a rock band called Hot Tuna is going to be coming to the Egyptian. They are heading on a long tour that will cover nearly all of the United States, and they have picked Boise to be the last show on the trip. The concert is going to be a blast.
Coming to the Egyptian, also, this year is George Noory (host of Coast to Coast with George Noory) and his guests. This Treasure Valley favorite AM radio talk show host will in Boise for one show only.
There are many more events that are being held in the coming year. There will be solo artists, more bands, private gigs and more. The Egyptian is as alive as ever and the owners of the Egyptian and the staff hope to continue this traditional Boise treasure for future generations to enjoy.