The Blue Mouse has met its goal.
And then some.
The Tacoma movie house — for 89 years an entertainment staple in the Proctor neighborhood — had appealed to patrons and fans as it faced the threat of an ever-dark screen thanks to the inevitable advent of digital technology.
No longer will first-run films be shown on film. As of this year, the movie industry will evolve from film projection to electronic transmission.
The transition will cost theaters about $75,000 per screen.
In mid-November, organizers at the Blue Mouse posted an appeal on the fundraising website Kickstarter.com asking for that $75,000.
They achieved their goal with a $1,000 donation offered at 11:50 p.m. on New Year’s Eve.
“I was coming out of my skin,” Susan Evans, Blue Mouse manager, said Wednesday.
“People want to get behind something they believe in,” she said. “We’ve had donations from Switzerland, France, Australia, 13 different states. One woman in New Hampshire has backed five other theaters that wanted to go digital. People want to help. They just want to be a part of it.”
Funding by Wednesday afternoon had risen to $75,638.
Which is a good start on the next phase, which has supporters attempting to raise an additional $10,000.
“We’ll do an upgrade on acoustics,” Evans said. “We’ll add acoustic padding and put nice curtaining on the walls. We’ll get it done.”
To help get it done, supporters will host a fundraising event Jan. 11 at the theater.
The evening will feature a showing of the 1990 film “Kindergarten Cop” starring, along with Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tacoma native Pamela Reed.
Now a University Place resident, Reed will appear at the fundraiser to meet supporters and answer questions of the type asked of movie stars.
It was at the Blue Mouse — then named the Proctor — that Reed saw her first film, and then the films of her youngest years.
“Me and Colleen Manning, two little girls, walking to the theater together. We’ve been friends since we were babies,” she recalled Wednesday.
“I remember going in, you paid your money at the little booth, then you spent time at the candy counter. You could hold the popcorn bag in one hand. You were walked to your seat by an usher with a flashlight. You watched those wonderful Disney movies. We were transported. It was innocent and it was lovely. You didn’t have to worry. Just the fact that we would walk there. Just imagine,” she said.
She will replay — and repay — some of her memories a week from Friday.
“It’s so important,” she said. “It’s really nice to be able to do this.”
Meanwhile, fundraising continues at Tacoma’s Grand Cinema — which has four screens that must be fitted for digital projection.
“We’re at about $85,000 right now,” said Philip Cowan, Grand Cinema executive director.
“We’ve got one screen covered and three more to go,” he said. “We’re a nonprofit, so we can apply for some grants. We have applications out there.”
Attendance at the Grand was stellar last year, he said, with 137,000 attendees — an increase of 11 percent over the previous record.
“It was a phenomenal year for us,” he said.
As has the Blue Mouse, the Grand might finish its fundraising campaign on Kickstarter, Cowan said.
C.R. Roberts: 253-597-8535