Dr. Taso G. Lagos of the European Studies/Hellenic Studies program in the Jackson School recently received a $15,000 gift from the Fred Danz Charitable Foundation, the SRO Charitable Foundation and members of the Danz Family to develop a class on Immigration and Pacific Northwest Film History for the Jackson School of International Studies
The Danz theater operation began with John Danz who arrived in the United States in the early 1900s from Russia fleeing Cossack persecution of Jews. He started his first theater in 1913 in Seattle’s Pioneer District and five years later was running a number of movie theaters in the city, many of them “second-run” operations. In the early 1960s, Fred Danz took over from his father and grew the company further, which at its height managed or owned more than 100 theaters on the West Coast.
Dr Lagos developed the class from his own research into Seattle film theater history. He has written on both the development of local movie theaters in the city beginning in 1902 as well as on local movie theaters moguls such as the Greek-born Alexander Pantages. Dr. Lagos is under contract to publish a book-length biography of Pantages for McFarland Press.
Lagos hopes the class will teach a new generation of students the value of conducting original research on local film theater history, and hopes to use material gathered from the Danz Family papers to produce completed work for students’ own portfolios. “It’s important that we not lose all this great local history and to realize how much the movie business aided assimilation of many immigrants into American society,” Lagos says.
The class will be offered in Spring, 2017.