The Tillamook Coliseum Theater is one of four finalists nationwide to be considered for a movie event to be hosted by Turner Classic Movies (TCM). Tillamook’s consideration for this event came as a result of a TCM in your hometown essay contest. Tillamook Bay Community College (TBCC) English instructor Sydney Elliott entered the contest with her pitch why Tillamook and the Coliseum would be a perfect venue for TCM to hold an event.
“When I initially got the email from TCM, I didn’t look at it right away, thinking it was a ‘thanks for your submission, but…’ message. But then I saw that Tillamook made the final four, I was elated and surprised as I wrote the essay in the final hour of the contest,” said Elliott.
Elliott was then asked to write another shorter pitch and submit a short video to TCM where it will be voted on by the TCM Backlot Members, a fan club for the channel. With the help of Zak Fletcher, Stephen Dyrnes, and Jason Hovey on the production of the video, Tillamook’s submission is featured with the other three finalists (Buffalo NY, Tucson AZ, and St. Louis MO) on the TCM website — https://www.tcmbacklot.com/vote-for-tillamook
The filming was done throughout the county and features The Coliseum Theater. The theater was built in 1923 and has a rich history. A few years ago, the theater closed.
Matt and Sheila Zerngast bought the theater in August 2014 on their 22nd wedding anniversary.
“It took us ten weeks, working every day. It was like an episode of Extreme Makeover. Some painting and trim wasn’t completed until minutes before we opened,” said Shiela. She said friends, family, and even strangers pitched in to help clean and remodel the theater. “I saw my first movie here growing up, and my children saw their first movie here as well. When the theater closed we felt such a loss, for ourselves and the community.”
The theater opened with a special showing of “The Princess Bride,” and Matt and Shiela are excited to be in the national spotlight. “I think Tillamook deserves an event because we are always there to help each other out,” Shiela said.
Elliott’s intention for a TCM event at the theater is two-fold: She wants to celebrate the members of the community, and she intends the event to coincide with a food drive for the Tillamook Food Bank.
“I am hoping the event will bring people into our downtown area and highlight our generous, hardworking community,” Elliott said. She also hopes TCM will provide some possible star power and filming in the area.
TCM is a satellite television network that features classic theatrically released films from the archives and libraries of the major Hollywood studios including Warner Bros. and Goldwyn-Mayer. Only Backlot Members can vote for the winning town, but the video is public, and both Elliott and TCM encourages everyone to view the submission and drum up support for their hometown pick.