San Gabriel Valley, Pomona, and Whittier Theatres




Welcome to the San Gabriel Valley Theatre Tour!

[ including a few forays into Pomona, Fullerton and Whittier ]




If you're looking for something that hasn't been written up here
 yet, go to the LA theatres by street address page for a section
listing all of all the San Gabriel Valley theatres by street address.



    Valley History Resources    


Tom Berge Jr.'s Alhambra Scrapbook is an index
of many historic photos from different sources.

See the Arcadia Publishing titles for the area
including AzusaCovina and El Monte.

G. Cliser's Box of Pictures on Flickriver has many
photos of the area. Also see his various sets on Flickr.

The City of El Monte Historical Society Museum has
 a web page. And they're also on Facebook.

The Temple City Chamber of Commerce has a
page on the history of that city. Also see the
Temple City Historical Society website.




    Alhambra    


Alhambra Theatre

Capri Theatre


Garfield Theatre

El Rey Theatre

Superba Theatre



    Arcadia    


Santa Anita Theatre / Cinemaland



    Azusa    


Azusa / State / Village Theatre

Liberty Theatre



    Covina & West Covina    


Capri Theatre

Covina Theatre



    El Monte    


El Monte Theatre

Rialto / Valley Theatre

Tumbleweed Theatre



    Fullerton    


Fox Fullerton


    La Puente    


Star Theatre


    Monterey Park    


Monterey Theatre



    Monrovia    


Elite Theatre

Lyric / Crest Theatre

Mission Theatre

Colonial / Monrovia Theatre




    Pasadena    


See the Pasadena Theatres section for
a complete listing of everything in town --
including separate pages for many of the
 theatres such as the Raymond, the Fox
 Pasadena, the United Artists, Pasadena
 Playhouse and more.


    Pomona    


American Theatre

Armory Opera House

Belvedere Theatre

Fox Pomona

Fraternal Aid Opera House

Lyric Theatre

Pomona Opera House

State Theatre

Sunkist Theatre

United Artists Theatre



    Rosemead    


Rosemead Theatre



    San Gabriel    


San Gabriel Theatre

San Gabriel Mission Playhouse



    Sierra Madre    


Sierra Madre Playhouse



    South Pasadena    


The list doesn't include Pasadena or South Pasadena Theatres.
See the separate Pasadena Theatres page for those.
Or consult the main alphabetical theatre list.



702 W. Main St. Alhambra

Alhambra Theatre see Capri Theatre
130 W. Main St.  Alhambra

Alhambra Theatre see Superba Theatre
101 E. Main St. Alhambra

Alhambra Twin Theatres see Alhambra Theatre
702 W. Main St. Alhambra

Alician Court Theatre  see Fox Fullerton
510 N. Harbor Blvd.  Fullerton

American Theatre
470 W. 2nd St.  Pomona

Annex Theatre see Alhambra Theatre
702 W. Main St. Alhambra

Armory see Armory Opera House
South side of 2nd St. between Gordon St. & Park Ave. Pomona

Armory Opera House
South side of 2nd St. between Gordon St. & Park Ave. Pomona

Azusa Theatre
602 N. Azusa Ave.  Azusa

Bard's Theatre  see Garfield Theatre
9 E. Valley Blvd.  Alhambra

Bard's Egyptian  see Garfield Theatre
9 E. Valley Blvd.  Alhambra

Bard's Garfield  see Garfield Theatre
9 E. Valley Blvd.  Alhambra

Belvedere Theatre
251 S. Garey Ave.  Pomona


Berry Grand Theatre 
13011 Philadelphia St. Whittier

Bogart Theatre see Sierra Madre Playhouse
87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.  Sierra Madre

Bruen's Roxy Theatre see Roxy Theatre
13112 Philadelphia St. Whittier

Bruen's Whittier Theatre  see Whittier Theatre
11612 Whittier Blvd.  Whittier

Caldwell Grand Opera House see Pomona Opera House
NW corner Third and Thomas Sts.  Pomona

California Theatre see United Artists Theatre
287 S. Thomas St. and  235 W. 3rd St.  Pomona

Capri Theatre
130 W. Main St. Alhambra

Capri Theatre
444 S. Glendora Ave.  West Covina

Century Theatre see San Gabriel Theatre
330 W. Las Tunas Dr.  San Gabriel

Chapman's Theatre  see Fox Fullerton
510 N. Harbor Blvd.  Fullerton

Chapman's Alician Court Theatre  see Fox Fullerton
510 N. Harbor Blvd.  Fullerton

Cinemaland see Santa Anita Theatre
135 Colorado Pl. Arcadia

Colonial Theatre see Monrovia Theatre
314 S. Myrtle Ave.  Monrovia

Coronet Theatre see Capri Theatre
130 W. Main St.  Alhambra

Covina Theatre
104 N. Citrus Ave.  Covina

Covina Center for the Performing Arts  see Covina Theatre
104 N. Citrus Ave.  Covina

Covina Cinema see Covina Theatre
104 N. Citrus Ave.  Covina

Covina Valley Playhouse see Covina Theatre
104 N. Citrus Ave.   Covina

Crest Theatre see Lyric Theatre
205 E. Foothill Blvd.  Monrovia


Edwards Azusa Theatre see Azusa Theatre
602 N. Azusa Ave.  Azusa

Edwards Century Theatre see San Gabriel Theatre
330 W. Las Tunas Dr.  San Gabriel

Edwards Cinemaland see Santa Anita Theatre
135 Colorado Pl. Arcadia


Edwards Monterey Theatre see Monterey Theatre
619 N. Garfield Ave.  Monterey Park

Edwards San Gabriel Theatre see San Gabriel Theatre
330 W. Las Tunas Dr.  San Gabriel

Edwards Santa Anita see Santa Anita Theatre
135 Colorado Pl. Arcadia

Edwards Temple Theatre see Temple Theatre
1611 / 9015 Las Tunas Dr.  Temple City

Edwards Village Theatre see Azusa Theatre
602 N. Azusa Ave.  Azusa

El Monte Theatre
11006 Valley Mall  El Monte
earlier address: 110 E. Valley Blvd.

El Rey Theatre
225 W. Main St.  Alhambra

Elite Theatre
217 S. Myrtle Ave.  Monrovia

Family Theatre
7024 Greenleaf Ave. Whittier

Fox California Theatre see United Artists Theatre
287 S. Thomas St. and  235 W. 3rd St. Pomona

Fox Fullerton
510 N. Harbor Blvd.  Fullerton


Fox Mission Theatre  see Fox Fullerton
510 N. Harbor Blvd.  Fullerton

Fox Monrovia see Monrovia Theatre
314 S. Myrtle Ave.  Monrovia

Fox Pomona
301 S. Garey Ave. Pomona

Fox Sunkist see Sunkist Theatre
445 N. Garey Ave.  Pomona

Fraternal Aid Opera House
NE corner of Gordon & 3rd Sts.
7023 Greenleaf Ave. Whittier

Garfield Theatre
9 E. Valley Blvd.  Alhambra

Garfield Egyptian  see Garfield Theatre
9 E. Valley Blvd.  Alhambra

Gold Cinema see Alhambra Theatre
702 W. Main St. Alhambra

Granada Theatre see Capri Theatre
130 W. Main St. Alhambra

Grand Theatre see Berry Grand Theatre 
13011 Philadelphia St. Whittier

Kuo Hwa Theatre see San Gabriel Theatre
330 W. Las Tunas Dr.  San Gabriel

Jackson's Opera House see Pomona Opera House
NW corner Third and Thomas Sts.  Pomona

La Pictoria Theatre see American Theatre
470 W. 2nd St.  Pomona

Liberty Theatre
310 N. Alameda Ave.  Azusa

Lyric Theatre
205 E. Foothill Blvd.  Monrovia

Lyric Theatre
366 W. 2nd St.  Pomona

McNees Theatre  see Whittier Theatre
11612 Whittier Blvd.  Whittier

Mission Theatre
127 E. Olive Ave.  Monrovia

Mission Theatre see Monterey Theatre
619 N. Garfield Ave.  Monterey Park

Mission Theatre  see Fox Fullerton
510 N. Harbor Blvd.  Fullerton


Mission Court Theatre  see Fox Fullerton
510 N. Harbor Blvd.  Fullerton


Mission Playhouse  see San Gabriel Mission Playhouse
320 S. Mission Dr. San Gabriel

Monrovia Theatre
314 S. Myrtle Ave.  Monrovia

Monterey Theatre
619 N. Garfield Ave.  Monterey Park


Monterey Park Theatre see Monterey Theatre
619 N. Garfield Ave.  Monterey Park


Opera House  see listings for Pomona Opera House
7011 Greenleaf Ave  Whittier

Pictoria Theatre see American Theatre
470 W. 2nd St.  Pomona

Pomona Theatre see Fox Pomona
301 S. Garey Ave. Pomona

Pomona Opera House
NW corner Third and Thomas Sts.  Pomona

Pomona Opera House see Armory Opera House
South side of 2nd St. between Gordon St. & Park Ave. Pomona

Pomona Opera House see Fraternal Aid Opera House
NE corner of Gordon & 3rd Sts.  Pomona

Pomona Valley Auditorium see United Artists Theatre
235 W. 3rd St. Pomona

Plaza Theatre see Capri Theatre
130 W. Main St.  Alhambra

Puente Theatre see Star Theatre
145 N. 1st St. La Puente

Pussycat Theatre see Whittier Village Cinemas
7038 Greenleaf Ave.  Whittier

Rialto Theatre see Valley Theatre
10818 Valley Mall  El Monte
earlier addresses: 326 W. Main St., 326 W. Valley Blvd.

Rosemead Theatre
1629 E. Valley Blvd. Rosemead


Roxy Theatre
13112 Philadelphia St. Whittier

San Gabriel Theatre
330 W. Las Tunas Dr.  San Gabriel

San Gabriel Mission Playhouse
320 S. Mission Dr. San Gabriel

Santa Anita Theatre
135 Colorado Pl. Arcadia

Scenic Theatre see Roxy Theatre
13112 Philadelphia St. Whittier

Sierra Madre Theatre see Sierra Madre Playhouse
87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.  Sierra Madre

Sierra Madre Playhouse
87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.  Sierra Madre

Star Theatre
145 N. 1st St. La Puente

State Theatre see Azusa Theatre
602 N. Azusa Ave.  Azusa

State Theatre
255 S. Garey Ave.  Pomona

Strand Theatre
12905 Philadelphia St.  Whittier

101 E. Main St. Alhambra

Sunkist Theatre
445 N. Garey Ave.  Pomona

Taylor Opera House see Pomona Opera House
NW corner Third and Thomas Sts.  Pomona

Temple Theatre
1611 / 9015 Las Tunas Dr.  Temple City

Temple Theatre see El Rey Theatre
225 W. Main St.  Alhambra

Tumbleweed Theatre
11918 Garvey Ave. El Monte

United Theatre see Superba Theatre
101 E. Main St.  Alhambra

United Artists Theatre
235 W. 3rd St.  Pomona

Valley Theatre
10818 Valley Mall  El Monte
earlier addresses: 326 W. Main St., 326 W. Valley Blvd.

Valley Playhouse see Covina Theatre
104 N. Citrus Ave.   Covina

Village Theatre see Azusa Theatre
602 N. Azusa Ave.  Azusa

Wardman Theatre see Whittier Village Cinemas
7038 Greenleaf Ave.  Whittier

Warner Bros. Whittier Theatre see Whittier Theatre
11612 Whittier Blvd.  Whittier

Whittier Theatre
11612 Whittier Blvd.  Whittier

Whittier Village Cinemas
7038 Greenleaf Ave.  Whittier

Wisteria Theatre see Sierra Madre Playhouse
87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.  Sierra Madre






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Alhambra Theatre

702 W. Main St. (@ Atlantic)

Alhambra, CA   91801     | map

Opened:  December 1924 as the largest theatre in the area. It had a full stage and in its early years ran plays and vaudeville in addition to film programs. This was the the third theatre to call itself the Alhambra. There were earlier ones at 130 W. Main (later the Capri) and 101 E. Main (later called theSuperba). This one is listed  at 700 W. Main in the 1931 thru the 1939 city directories. The auditorium was behind a commercial building and ran parallel to Main St. with the stagehouse backing up to Atlantic.

Architect: George Weir

Seating: Perhaps 1,000 originally.  In 1940, the capacity was 950 in the original theatre and 450 in the Annex. Later Film Daily yearbooks listed 600 for the main house.

James Edwards purchased the business in 1930 (his second theatre) and in 1940 added a second screen in an adjacent storefront. It was known as the Alhambra and the Annex, the first twin on the west coast. The original programming idea was to run the same double feature in both houses with the schedules reversed. You could see a single feature or stay for a double. Or if you came in in the middle at the main house, at intermission you move to the annex where, after intermission, you could see the beginning of the same film.

The thought was that the double feature business was alienating the clientele who had grown up with single features and sometimes came in during the feature and didn't want to stay through a second feature just to see what they had missed. This way the complex could appeal to more people.

The second screen had been unused for a few years when it was renovated in the 60s. The two screens were then called the Alhambra and the Gold Cinema and, at closing, they were the Alhambra Twin Cinemas.

Status: The complex was demolished after sustaining damage in the October 1, 1987 Whittier earthquake. Much of the auditorium and stagehouse was rubble.The Atlantic Palace 10 plex was built on the site, opening in May 1991.  That building was demolished in 2011. There's now an L.A. County Housing Authority building on the site. Edwards died in 1997 at age 90.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Alhambra for a fine history by Joe Vogel. Cinema Tour also has a page on the Alhambra.

See the 2011 Alhambra Source article by Nathan Solis for a history of the Alhambra and the Edwards circuit -- with corrections by Joe Vogel. Also see Nathan's Atlantic Theatre set on Flickr which includes a 1923 aerial construction view.

    American Classic Images    

www.americanclassicimages.com


A 1983 photo from the American
 Classic Images collection.

    Boxoffice    

www.boxoffice.com

A 1940 facade photo.
full size view


The lobby of the Alhambra in 1940.
full size view


The main Alhambra Theatre
auditorium in 1940.
full size view


The Alhambra Annex in 1940.
full size view

  The article about the opening of the Annex is in the
October 12, 1940 issue of Boxoffice. The project had been
 discussed in the July 23, 1938 issue.Thanks to ace Cinema
Treasures researcher Joe Vogel for finding the articles.

    Photos of Los Angeles    


The Alhambra Theatre in the early 30s.
That's James Edwards under the marquee.
full size view | on FB/LATheatres

The photo also appears in the Atlantic Theatre
set of Nathan Solis on Flickr.



The Alhambra in 1954. That "World's Only Double Bill -
Single Bill Theatre - See Both Features or One" sign
refers to the Annex Theatre, opened in 1940 in adjacent
 store space. Both houses ran the same double
 feature, with reversed showtimes.
full size view | on FB/LATheatres

American Theatre

470 W. 2nd St.

Pomona, CA 91766   | map

Opened:  1911 or earlier as the La Pictoria Theatre. Ron Pierce on Cinema Treasures notes that in the 1911 directory there's also the information that it was operated by James Tewsley and that it shows up on a 1911 Sanborn map as well.

It's still listed as the La Pictoria in the 1912/13 and 1914 city directories with an address of 478 W. 2nd St.

In the 1919/20 city directory it's listed as the American Theatre at 470 W. 2nd.  Pierce notes that in one 1919 directory we see it's managed by E.M. Smith. Joe Vogel on Cinema Treasures notes:

"The Gore Bros. and Sol Lesser took over the Belvedere and American Theatres in 1920. The acquisitions were announced in the September 20, 1920, issue of Motion Picture News...When West Coast Theatres, Inc. was formed through the consolidation of the holdings of Gore Bros., Sol Lesser, and Adolph Ramish, the American and Belvedere Theatres in Pomona were among the thirty theaters that became part of the new circuit. The formation of the corporation was noted in the January 19, 1921, issue of The Film Daily."

Closing date is unknown. It's still listed in the 1923/24 directory at 470 W. 2nd. There's no listing in the 1926 directory.

Status:  Demolished. The site is currently a vacant lot.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the American Theatre. Thanks to Joe Vogel and Ron Pierce for their research!  Both Cinema Treasures and Cinema Tour give an address of 468 W. 2nd for the La Pictoria.

Armory Opera House

South side of 2nd St. between Gordon St. & Park Ave. (formerly Ellen)

Pomona, CA 91766   | map

Opened: Date unknown. But it was around for a photo in 1903. It was built as a combination theatre and National Guard Armory. It was sometimes referred to as the Pomona Opera House, the Armory Opera House, or just The Armory.

Status: Demolished.  Closing date is unknown.

    Pomona Public Library    

content.ci.pomona.ca.us/index.php


The facade of the Opera House on 2nd St. in 1903.
full size view | on the PPL site



A ball for the National Guard Company D
in the Armory Opera House.
full size view |
on the PPL site

Also see:
| Company D in front - undated |

Azusa Theatre

602 N. Azusa Ave.

Azusa, CA 91702   | map

Opened: December 30, 1927 as the Azusa Theatre. The initial attraction was "A Texas Steer," a silent film starring Will Rogers. Ron Pierce on Cinema Treasures says the Azusa Historical Society has a different story -- they think it opened as the State Theatre in 1928.  Perhaps it became the State in 1928. Pierce notes that as the State it was listed as an independent in theatre ads.

Pierce also notes that there are newspaper accounts of an earlier theatre called the Azusa that was located in the Azusa Arcade. It was managed by Earl Halberg, who moved over to manage the new theatre.

When the Edwards circuit got it in the 50s the name became Edwards Azusa. In the early 60s it became the Edwards Village Theatre. The location was a block south of Foothill Blvd. at the corner of 6th & Azusa.

Seating: 641            Architect: Unknown

Status: The theatre ran into the early 70s. It's been demolished. In 1972 the city wanted an earthquake retrofit and Edwards decided it wasn't worth the proposed $60,000 cost. He donated the land to the city for a mini-park.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Edwards Village. Thanks to Ron Pierce for all the research.

    "Azusa"    

by Jeffrey Lawrence Cornejo Jr. Arcadia Publishing, 2007.
| Google Books preview |


A 1928 look at the new Azusa Theatre. The photo
appears on page 83 of the Arcadia book "Azusa." They're
running "The Latest From Paris," a silent with Norma
Shearer (1928) and "We're All Gamblers" (1927).
full size view | on Google Books

    Los Angeles Public Library    

A 1963 photo as the Village Theatre. We're looking
 north -- Foothill Blvd. is up at the next intersection.

full size view

Belvedere Theatre

251 S. Garey Ave.

Pomona, CA 91766   | map

Opened:  September 11, 1911. It's in the 1912/13 city directory as on the "west side Garey Ave bet. 2nd & 3rd." In the 1919/20 directory as "S. Garey near 3rd." In the 1923/24 through 1934 directories at 251 S. Garey.

In David Allen's 2016 Daily Bulletin article about the Sunkist he notes that Howard Hughes' Hughes-Franklin circuit got the theatre in early 1931.  He says:

"By March, Hughes-Franklin owned 125 theaters in California and seven other states, snapping up 18 in one week, including one in Pomona, the Belvedere, at 251 S. Garey Ave. Plans were announced to completely overhaul it within a week’s time with new seats, screen, marquee and the addition of a 40-foot vertical sign."

Seats: 480      

Status:  Destroyed by fire November 20, 1933. The State Theatre was built on the site.

More Information: Cinema Treasures gives the address as 223 S. Garey. See the Cinema Treasures page on the Belvedere Theatre. Thanks to Joe Vogel for finding the opening date.

    Pomona Public Library    

content.ci.pomona.ca.us/index.php


A 1922 Frasher photo of the theatre.
A 1924 look at the American National Bank on
the SW corner of 2nd and Garey. The Belvedere
Theatre is on the left, halfway down the block.



A 1930 photo of the Belvedere running
Willliam Wyler's "The Storm" with Lupe Valez.
Also in the Library's collection:

Berry Grand Theatre

13011 Philadelphia St.
  Whittier, CA 90601  
| map

Opened: July 1913 and evidently closed in the summer of 1919.  The address before street renumbering was 108 E. Philadelphia St.  Joe Vogel on Cinema treasures surmises that the Berry in the name was Truman Berry, later a partner in the Gale and Scenic/Roxy theatres.

Vogel also notes that Berry got out of this one in 1916. He found a mention in the February 19, 1916, issue of The Moving Picture World that noted it had been taken over by L. Uhlig.

Status: The building survives with a vintage clothing store, a sandwich shop and a shoe store as tenants. The photo is an April 2015 Google Maps view. Click on it for a larger image -- or head to Google for the interactive version.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Berry Grand. Thanks to Ron Pierce and Joe Vogel for the research.

Capri Theatre

130 W. Main St.

Alhambra, CA   91801     | map

Opened:  1917 as the Alhambra Theatre. In the 1923 city directory it's listed at 118 W. Main.  It's the Plaza Theatre at 130 in 1925 and the Granada in the 1927 through 1939 directories. In the 40s it was the Coronet Theatre and the Edwards circuit renamed it the Capri in 1963 or 1964.

Architect: Harley S. Bradley

Seating: 500

Status: Demolished after damage from the 1971 Sylmar earthquake.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Capri for fine research and reminiscences from Joe Vogel. Cinema Tour also has a page, where they have it listed as the Coronet. Also see our listings for an earlier building using the Alhambra name, later called the Superba, and a later Alhambra Theatre that opened as the Temple.

    Los Angeles Public Library    

www.lapl.org


A 1927 look at the theatre when it was the
Granada, running "Mother" with Belle Bennett. 
full size view

Capri Theatre West Covina

444 S. Glendora Ave.

West Covina, CA   91790     | map

Opening: 1962 as a single screen house with one of the largest screens in the San Gabriel Valley.

It was originally a Statewide Theatres house. Cinema Treasures researcher Joe Vogel reports that it was one of three theatres being developed for the circuit that were listed in a September 11, 1961 Boxoffice article.  Loew's picked it up (as well as others in the circuit) in 1967. SRO then had it when they took over the L.A. area Loew's theatres around 1976. It was triplexed in the early 80s. SoCal Cinemas was running it by 1986.

Status: It was demolished in the early 90s.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Capri.



A look at the Capri after its closing.
A closer look at the theatre's space-age signage.

Thanks to Brian Solar for the use of his photos!

Covina Theatre

104 N. Citrus Ave.

Covina, CA  91723
| map

Website:
covinacenter.com

Opened: December 1921. The photo is a 2011 Google Maps view looking north on Citrus Ave. Click on it to enlarge or head to the interactive version. 

Architects:  Tignal Franklin Cox did the 1921 theatre. Frank Cox had worked as a scenic artist before he became an architect. During the span of his career he designed more than 50 theatres all over the country. He moved to Covina in 1918. Thanks to Joe Vogel for tracking down a biography of Mr. Cox in pdf format.

The Covina was built for two of Cox's relatives:George Leonardy, his son-in-law, and Earl Sinks, a nephew. The pair ran the theatre until selling it in 1926. Circuits later operating the Covina included Statewide Theatres, Century, Loew’s and General Cinema.

After its first run days were over, the theatre had a stint starting in 1977 as the Covina Cinema, a repertory house operated by Tarzana-based Great Western Theatres. The Covina closed as a film house in 1991 and in 1992 became a legit venue, the Covina Valley Playhouse.

During 2004 renovations to upgrade the playhouse it was decided that the building wasn't worth saving and a new structure was built on the site. The new theatre, which opened in October 2007, is known as the Covina Center for the Performing Arts. The cost was $12 million, funded mostly by the Champion Family Foundation.

Seating: 499 as a film house. Capacity of the new theatre is 170 (or 99 in Equity waiver mode).

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Covina. Cinema Tour also has a page on the theatre. See the 20 minute documentary on the CCPA website for a history of the old theatre and the building of the new one.

    American Classic Images    

www.americanclassicimages.com


A 1984 look at the Covina in 1983.
full size view | on Photos of LA


    A Box of Pictures    

www.flickr.com/photos/g_cliser


Christmas 1952 at the Covina. Kirk Douglas
 is playing in "The Big Sky." The 2nd feature
 is "Here Come the Marines."
full size view | on Flickr

The photo above also appears on a blog post
for Reynolds Buick. A cropped version is on
 Vintage Los Angeles -- with lots of comments.



In the Box of Pictures West Covina and Covina
set we get a 2010 view of the rebuilt facade.
full size view

    Cinema Tour    

www.cinematour.com/tour/us/16070.html


The old Covina Theatre in its Covina Valley Playhouse
days. The photo is from the Scott Neff collection.
full size view

    Covina Past    

covinapast.blogspot.com


A Fall 1954 postcard looking north on Citrus Ave.
It's Doris Day this week in "Lucky Me."
full size view | the blog post

    SoCal Historic Architecture    

www.facebook.com/groups/socalhistoricarchitecture


It's 1948 with the Covina featuring Greer Garson and
Walter Pidgeon in "Julia Misbehaves" along with "Kiss The
 Blood Off My Hands" with Joan Fontaine and Burt Lancaster.
 Thanks to Thanks to Tim Burgess for this added it as a
 comment to his post of a 1952 Christmas photo.
full size view | the thread on the SoCal page



Again thanks to Tim Burgess. He added this c.1961
postcard with the Covina running "Breakfast At Tiffany's" as
another comment to his post of the 1952 Christmas photo.

El Monte Theatre

11006 Valley Mall

El Monte, CA   91731
| map

Opened: 1939 as part of the Sanborn circuit. Arthur Sanborn also ran the Rialto (later called the Valley Theatre) in El Monte. Before street renumbering, the theatre's address was 110 E. Valley Blvd.

It was later twinned and operated as a Spanish language house by Metropolitan Theatres. Some of the programming included Mexican plays and vaudeville. The photo is a 2011 Google Maps view. Click on it to enlarge or head to the interactive version.

Architect: Earl T. Heitschmidt             Seating: 900 originally

Status: It's been gutted and is now retail and office space. It closed sometime prior to 2003.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the El Monte for research by Joe Vogel and other contributors. Cinema Tour has seven 2003 exterior views by Adam Martin. Loopnet has a listing for the theatre with a recent photo and notes that the building is 22,000 sf.  Rapidheart has a 2008 photo on Photobucket.  The 1923 city directory had a listing for an El Monte Theatre at 331 W. Main St. -- perhaps a mistaken listing for the new Rialto / Valley Theatre with an address across the street at 326 W. Main.

    American Classic Images    

www.americanclassicimages.com


A 1984 look at the El Monte, here still a single
 screen house, from American Classic Images. 
full size view

This one also appears on Photos of Los Angeles.

    Chris Brame on Photobucket    

s5.photobucket.com/user/ChrisBrame


A lovely 1992 night view of the
El Monte Twin by Chris Brame.

Chris has this one on Cinema Treasures along
with another view. It also appears in A Box of Pictures
on Flickr and on Photos of Los Angeles.

    Cinema Tour    

www.cinematour.com


A 2003 Adam Martin shot of the building
 after its closing as a theatre.
See the Cinema Tour page on the
 El Monte for 6 more exterior views.

El Rey Theatre

335 W. Main St | map

Alhambra, CA   91801 

Opened: 1921 as the Temple Theatre, owned by Walter Paul Temple. O.H. Schleusener was the lessee.  There was possibly an earlier theatre owned by Mr. Temple at 611 W. Main. For that discussion see some 2002 comments on the Cinema Treasures page about the Temple Theatre in Temple City.

In the 1923 L.A. city directory the Temple is listed as being at 319 W. Main, at 335 in the 1925 through 1931 directories. There's no 1932 listing. In the Alhambra directory it's the El Rey at 335 W. Main St. from 1932 onward.

In the 40s and 50s the theatre was operated by Fox West Coast.  The Edwards circuit took over in the 60s and did a remodel which, among other things covered up the facade and replaced the marquee.

Architects: Walker and Eisen. See our LATheatres.blogspot posts for more by that prolific firm.

Seating: 1,000 originally, down to 861 with a 40s re-seating.

Status: It was demolished around 1990 as a result of damage sustained in the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake.

More Information:  See the Cinema Treasures page on the El Rey Theatre for lots of discussion by Joe Vogel and other researchers. There are also comments of interest about the ElRey/Temple on the Cinema Treasures page for the later Temple Theatre in Temple City. Also see our listing on this page for the Temple City Temple Theatre, a 1940 S. Charles Lee building.

The Temple Theatre shows up in the distance on the right side of a 1928 Harold A. Parker photo looking West on Main that appears in the Pasadena Digital History Collaboration.

    American Classic Images    

www.americanclassicimages.com


The facade all covered up in the theatre's El Rey days. 
full size view | on Photos of Los Angeles

Also in the collection:

    Huntington Digital Library    

cdm16003.contentdm.oclc.org/cdm/


A 1928 Harold A. Parker photo of the
Temple in the Huntington's collection. That's
 a funeral parlor to the left of the theatre.

    Los Angeles Public Library    


A 1927 look at the theatre when it was the Temple.
The feature is Richard Dix in "Man Power." 
 full size view

    USC Archives    

digitallibrary.usc.edu


We get a glimpse of the El Rey's marquee (before
the Edwards remodel) in this detail from a USC photo
 looking east on Main St. It's a 1951 MacArthur "welcome
home" parade. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding this
 Herald Examiner photo in the archive.
 larger view | full photo

Elite Theatre

217 S. Myrtle Ave.

Monrovia, CA 91016   | map

All that's known about this one is that it appears in the 1911 Monrovia city directory.

Family Theatre

7024 Greenleaf Ave.

Whittier, CA 90602   | map

Opened: 1913. The address before street renumbering was 124 S. Greenleaf Ave.  This was second location for Whittier's first theatre -- its original location is unknown. Ron Pierce on Cinema Treasures:

"The Family Theater, evidently Whittier’s first movie theater, became listed in the Whittier News in June of 1909 with no location noted. On September 18, 1909, the Keipp family opened it at a newer and roomier location, with 300-seats, at this address (then 124 South). The Family Theater dropped out of the listings in June of 1916, around the time of the opening of the new Gale Theatre. The building was later demolished."

Seats: 300          Status: Demolished

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Family Theatre

Fox Fullerton

510 N. Harbor Blvd.    | map |

Fullerton, CA 92832    

Opened:
May 28, 1925 as Chapman’s Alician Court Theatre with Tom Mix in “Dick Turpin” plus vaudeville acts. Prominent businessman C. Stanley Chapman was behind the venture. The Alician Court name was an homage to his wife Alice Ellen.

In addition to being called the Fox Fullerton it's also been known as the Alician Court Theatre, Mission Court Theatre and the Fox Mission. It closed in 1987 when the owner decided not to do a city-mandated seismic retrofit.

Architects: Meyer & Holler, with Raymond Kennedy the principal designer for the firm. The murals in the theatre were by the Heinsbergen Co. with John Gabriel Beckman being the lead artist.

Seating: 1,095 originally on main floor and balcony, 908 after a reseating.

Status:  A long, long restoration process is underway to repair decades of damage and "modernization." The Fullerton Fox Theatre foundation bought the building from the City of Fullerton in 2005. Their renovation budget of $10 million has ballooned into a monster $24 million project with more fundraising needed. Occasional shows are permitted by the city as work continues.

More Information: See our page on the Fox Fullerton for lots of photos.

    Jesse's Blog   

jesselatour.blogspot.com


A 2013 look at the auditorium to advertise
a "Fullerton Cares" fundraiser for autism.
 It's a photo by Josue Rivas.

Fox Pomona

301 S. Garey Ave.  | map |

Pomona, CA   91766

Opened: April 24, 1931

Architects:   Balch & Stanbery

Seating: 1,751

Status: Restored in 2008-2009 and now operating as a multi-venue performing arts center.  The photo here is from 2007. Click on it for a larger view.

More information: See our page on the Fox Pomona.

Fraternal Aid Opera House

NE corner of Gordon & 3rd Sts.

Pomona, CA 91766   | map

Opened: 1903, built by the group Pomona Fraternal Aid. It's in the 1912/13 and 1914 city directories as the Fraternal Aid Opera House at the NE corner of Gordon & 3rd.  The site was three blocks west of the Fox (at 3rd & Garey). Closing date is unknown.

Status: Demolished. The site is now a parking lot.

    Pomona Public Library    


An early undated photo of the
Fraternal Aid Opera House.

Gale Theatre

7023 Greenleaf Ave.

Whittier, CA 90602   | map

Opened: 1916 and evidently running into the 20s. It was erected by the Gale Theatrical Co. In 1920 it was being operated by Truman C. Berry, J.H. Gwin and E.C. Siler who would open the Scenic Theatre (later renamed the Roxy) that year.

Seats: 575         Status: Demolished

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Gale Theatre for all the data that is known about this one. 

Garfield Theatre

9 E. Valley
Blvd. @ Garfield

Alhambra, CA   91801     | map

Opened: 1925 as Bard's Egyptian Theatre. The Bard circuit had other Egyptian themed theatres including Bard's Colorado, now the Academy, in Pasadena.

This one is listed as the Garfield Egyptian at 7 E. Valley Dr. in the 1925, 26 and 1935 city directories. It was also called Bard's Garfield and later just the Garfield. The photo is a 2012 view of the building from Google Maps -- click on it for a larger view.

The Garfield was the major San Gabriel Valley vaudeville house and hosted all the major acts. Its rooftop sign could be seen for miles around. Joe Vogel on Cinema Treasures reports that in the 50s it was operated by the Vinicoff circuit (with evidently an interest by Edwards). The elaborate cornice of the building was removed in the 50s. In the 60s the Edwards circuit assumed full control. In the 70s after the circuit opened the Monterey Mall Cinemas, this house was leased out to an operator running Chinese films.

Architect: Lewis A. Smith                   

Seating:
1,181 all on one level. The restrooms were upstairs on either side of the booth with a cry room adjacent to each.

Status: The auditorium portion of the building was demolished in 2001 shortly after the theatre closed. The commercial building and lobby portion remain with retail in the lobby and apartments on the second floor.  The building was originally called the Valley Grand Building. The area where the auditorium was is now a parking lot.

More Information:  See the Cinema Treasures page on the Garfield for fine research by Joe Vogel and others.  Cinema Tour has a page on the theatre with several 2003 exterior views.  American Classic Images has a 1983 stagehouse view (appearing also on Photos of Los Angeles) and an 83 facade view (also posted on Photos of Los Angeles). Also see a fine stagehouse signage view from the 80s by David Bailey on Flickr.

Sopas EJ on post #194 of Noirish Los Angeles has a nice spread on the theatre with some vintage as well as 2007 exterior photos.  We get a small 1925 exterior view on page 108 of the Arcadia Publishing book "Theatres in Los Angeles."  There are evidently no surviving interior photos.

    Los Angeles Public Library    

An early look at the facade of the Garfield. The undated
 photo is from the Security Pacific National Bank Collection.
The upper portion of the facade was later removed
due to earthquake concerns.
full size view

    USC Archives    

digitallibrary.usc.edu


A 1938 look at Valley Blvd. at Garfield from the Automobile
Club of Southern California Collection. The Garfield still
has signage for Vitaphone on the backstage wall. 
full size view

The view above also appears on
 Photos of Los Angeles. Plus a re-post.

    Photos of Los Angeles    

www.facebook.com/groups/244565982234863



A great pre-2001 shot of the signage on the
 backstage wall that Ken McIntyre posted on Photos
of Los Angeles. It's a photo from Bill Gabel.
full size view  | on FB/LATheatres

Liberty Theatre

310 N. Alameda Ave.


Azusa, CA 91702  | map

Opened: Around 1918. Ron Pierce, on Cinema Treasures, notes that it's mentioned that year in the Covina Argus. Pierce found a 1921 Argus mention that Charles Harris had purchased the then-closed theatre and was reopening it that November. Harris closed it and sold his equipment in March 1928, three months after the new
Azusa Theatre had opened.

Seating:
410
          Architect: Unknown

Status:  The building is still there, now used by a cleaning company. The photo above is a 2012 Google Maps view. Click on it to enlarge -- or head to Google for the interactive view.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Liberty. Ron Pierce has unearthed all that's known about the venue. Thanks, Ron!

Lyric Theatre

366 W. 2nd St.

Pomona, CA 91766   | map

Opened:  Probably 1910. It's in the 1912/13 through 1927 city directories. Joe Vogel on Cinema Treasures notes he found a Powers projector ad in the September 2, 1911, issue of The Moving Picture World with this quote: "'We have used the No. 6 machine for over a year and it has given us the best of satisfaction. Our patrons tell us that they have never seen a clearer or more steady picture.’ Pomona, Cal., June 10, 1911. Houze Bros., Lyric Theatre."

Evidently the Houzes soon sold the venue. Ron Pierce, also on Cinema Treasures, says in the 1911 directory and later the proprietors were listed as Robert N. Taylor and wife Lottie.

Status: Evidently closed by 1928. It's been demolished. Currently the site is a parking lot.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Lyric Theatre. Thanks for the research Ron and Joe!

Lyric Theatre Monrovia

205 E. Foothill Blvd.

Monrovia, CA 91016   | map

Opened:  October 22, 1925. It's in the 1927 and 1930 city directories as The Lyric at 205 E. White Oak Ave. White Oak was then renamed Foothill Blvd. The Lyric is listed as being on Foothill Blvd. in the directories for 1931 and later years. For decades it was operated by Fox West Coast. They gave it a re-do at some point and it was renamed the Crest Theatre. In its last years it had operated as an independent.

Seating: 1,100            Architects: Wilson, Merrill and Wilson

Status: Closed in the 70s.It was demolished in 1979. The city council had declared it a public nuisance in 1978.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the theatre for lots of research -- and demolition photos. They index it as the Crest Theatre.

     Huntington Digital Library    

hdl.huntington.org/cdm/landingpage/collection/p16003coll2


A 1938 photo taken by G. Haven Bishop for Southern
California Edison. It was part of a series taken to promote
the virtues of air conditioning for business owners.

A 1925 pre-opening look at the Lyric from
the California Historical Society.
full size view

Mission Theatre

127 E. Olive Ave.

Monrovia, CA 91016   | map

Opened: 1910, evidently by a Mr. and Mrs. H. Widosky. It's in the 1911 and 1923 through 1927 city directories.  Joe Vogel, on Cinema Treasures, speculates it opened as a live theatre. He found a July 1914 reference referring to remodeling plans by a new owner, J.C. Kuert of Los Angeles, for installation of a modern projection booth. Or maybe just replacing a makeshift one? The plans also included adding a 150 seat balcony.

Seating: Unknown               

Status: Unknown. There's a funky building on the site now housing the Center Stage Dance Academy that might have been the theatre. It looks a bit low to have had a balcony.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Mission Theatre for Joe Vogel's research. Ken McIntyre also found a Spring 1914 article discussing a sale to another party that either didn't go through -- or he later sold in a hurry to Mr. Kuert.

Mission Playhouse

320 S. Mission Dr.    | map

San Gabriel, CA   91776

Opened: March 5, 1927 as the Mission Play House by John Stephen McGroarty as a venue for his elaborate stage show about the founding of the California Missions.

It was a film house for more than a decade following a 1932 foreclosure. In August 1945 voters approved a measure to buy the theatre and it was renamed the San Gabriel Civic Auditorium. It was renamed the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse by the city in 2007.

Architects:  Arthur Burnett Benton and William J. Dodd.       Seating: 1,143

Status: Alive and well as a performing arts center owned by the City of San Gabriel.

More Information: See our page on the San Gabriel Mission Playhouse.

    Ron Lim Photography    

ronlimphotography.com


A glorious look toward the stage and the
theatre's ornate ceiling. For a larger view see
Ron's great 2011 Mission Playhouse page.

Monrovia Theatre

314 S. Myrtle Ave.


Monrovia, CA 91016
 
| map

Opened:  February 20, 1920 as the Colonial Theatre.  Joe Vogel on Cinema Treasures found a notice about a stage remodel in 1921 -- either they were adding one or upgrading whatever the theatre started with. It's in the 1923, 1924 and 1925 city directories as the Colonial at 314 S. Myrtle.

The February 21, 1926 L.A. Times had a bit announcing that the theatre had been acquired by Associated Theatres, a new company headed by C. L. Langley, one of the former principals in West Coast Theatres. Thanks to Ken McIntyre for the find. A March 21, 1926 L.A. Times item mentioned a remodel that Langley was undertaking.  In the 1927 directory it's listed at 316 S. Myrtle.

Later renamed the Monrovia Theatre, it became the Fox Monrovia when Fox West Coast got it in 1941. From 1937 through at least 1948 it's listed as the Monrovia Theatre at 316 S. Myrtle.

Seats: 500               Architect: Sanson Milligan Cooper

Status:  Remodeled for retail. Closing date is unknown. The photo is a 2016 Google Maps view. Click on it to enlarge -- or head to Google for the interactive version.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Monrovia Theatre for lots of research by Joe Vogel. There's also a separate Colonial Theatre page where Joe Vogel came up with the opening date -- from J.D. Wiley's "History of Monrovia." That page lists the seating capacity as 1,000. The Cinema Tour page on the Monrovia offers one recent exterior view.

Other Monrovia theatres, perhaps unbuilt. Joe Vogel, on the Monrovia Theatre Cinema Treasures page, notes:

"The earliest references are to a 900 seat brick theatre to have been built on East Lemon Street in 1911. The architect named for this theatre was Herbert Alban Reeves. There are also references to a theater planned in 1923, to be financed by Marco Hellman, and to be located at the corner of White Oak (probably an earlier name of Foothill Boulevard) and Encinitas Avenue. I don’t know if either of these projects was actually built. There is also a single mention of a theatre planned by a Mr. F.C. Thompson, announced in the April 15th, 1921 issue of Southwest Builder and Contractor. No address, architect or theatre name is given."

    Pomona Public Library    

content.ci.pomona.ca.us


A 1949 photo of Myrtle St. and the
Monrovia Theatre by Burton Frasher.
full size view | on the PPL site



A 1950 Frasher view of the theatre.
 

Monterey Theatre

619 N. Garfield Ave.    | map |

Monterey Park, CA   91754

Opened:
1924. It's listed as the Mission Theatre at 617 N. Garfield in the 1925 through 1930 Alhambra directories.. It's the Monterey Theatre  at 619 in the 1931, 32, 35, 37 and 39 directories.  It's also been known as the Monterey Park Theatre.

It was acquired by James Edwards in 1930, his first theatre. Until the late 70s it was part of the Edwards circuit, where it was a popular priced second run house. The facade got a remodel, perhaps in the 40s. It later ran Chinese films after Edwards opened a triplex in the Monterey  Mall on Atlantic Blvd. in 1979.

Architect:  Leonard L. Jones        

Seating: 882, with the rear section being stadium style.

The Monterey in the Movies:  



The entrance to the Monterey in the Ed Wood film "Jail Bait"
 (Howco Productions, 1954). We're going to steal the theatre
circuit's payroll that they keep in an office backstage.



The front of the auditorium in "Jail Bait." The young lady
is a casualty of the robbery. Our robber thinks he's going
to get his face altered by his plastic surgeon father
 so he can't be identified. The plot is foiled.

Status: Demolished. It's now a parking lot.

More Information:  See the Cinema Treasures page on the Mission Theatre for lots of data and a nice interior description by Joe Vogel.  There's also a Monterey Theatre on Whittier Blvd. in East Los Angeles.  The L.A. Times had a 1995 profile on Edwards.

    American Classic Images    

A 1983 look at the Monterey from the
American Classics collection.
full size view  |  another 1983 view

    Los Angeles Public Library    

www.lapl.org



A 1927 look at the theatre, then called
 the Mission, running "Let It Rain."
full size view

Optic Theatre

7011 Greenleaf Ave.

Whittier, CA 90602   | map

Opened: January 31, 1910. The address before street renumbering was 111 S. Greenleaf Ave. That's between Philadelphia and Wardman. Ron Pierce on Cinema Treasures reports that in June 1914 E.C. Hause, an oilman, bought it and planned a remodel.  It closed in 1915 and became a hardware store.

Status: Demolished

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Optic Theatre. Thanks to Ron Pierce for the research.

    Whittier Public Library    

cityofwhittier.org/depts/library | local history page



A look at the Optic's facade. The poster is for "A Critical
Situation," a February 1910 release. The board at left lists
 the cast for "Twisted Trail," a March 1910 D.W. Griffith film.
full size view | on Calisphere

Pasadena Theatres


We've got a separate section for Pasadena Theatres where you'll find a summary on the main page along with an alternate name directory and a listing organized by address.

There are links to separate pages for many of the theatres such as the Pasadena Playhouse, shown here in a 2010 photo.

Pomona Opera House

NW corner Third and Thomas Sts.

Pomona, CA 91766   | map

Opened: November 1885. It was a single story frame building with a small balcony at the rear of the house. Evidently it had a flat main floor initially with risers added at the rear later.  It was also known as Taylor Opera House and Jackson's Opera House. The Pomona Library has an early Pomona map with a small illustration of something called the Caldwell Grand Opera House. Its unknown if that was another name for this building or a different structure elsewhere.

Status: The Opera House burned November 14, 1895. This location now has a commercial building on the site originally known as the Investment Building (now the Founders Building). The south bay of that building was the original lobby of the California/United Artists Theatre when it opened in 1923.

    Pomona Public Library    

content.ci.pomona.ca.us/index.php



A look toward the stage with the venue set for a
 banquet. It's a photo from Taylor Opera House &
Armory Historical Society of Pomona Valley.
 full size view | on the PPL site



A photo the Library dates as 1892, when it
was Jackson's Opera House, taken during an
entertainment given by Donald Bowles and Arthur Dole.
 full size view | on the PPL site | another version

Rosemead Theatre

8941 Valley Blvd.

Rosemead, CA 91770   | map

Opened: 1938 as a conversion of an existing building several lots west of Rosemead Blvd. It was operated by the Edwards circuit.  An earlier address, before renumbering, was 1629 E. Valley Blvd.  That newer address given above is the presumed location of the theatre.

Architect:  S. Charles Lee          Seats: 706 

Status: It closed in the early 1950s (Cinema Tour says 1953) and got remodeled into a market. It's now gone -- there's a newer building on the site.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Rosemead for lots of comments.

    Cinema Tour    

www.cinematour.com/tour/us/26124.html


A 1939 photo of  the Rosemead
from an issue of Theatre Catalog.
The photo also appears as a post
 by Bill Gabel on Cinema Treasures.

Roxy Theatre

13112 Philadelphia St.

Whittier, CA 90601   | map

Opened: June 1920 as the Scenic Theatre with "The Ladder of Lies" as the first film. The opening was announced in the June 26, 1920 L.A. Times. The story noted that the cost had been $150,000 and the owners were three Whittier residents: Truman C. Berry, J.H. Gwin and E.C. Siler. The trio had been operating the local Gale Theatre. Evidently it was part of the Fox circuit (along with the Strand) at some point.

The original address prior to street renumbering was 211 E. Philadelphia St. The location was on the south side of Philadelphia, east of Bright Ave. It's listed as the Scenic at 211 E. Philadelphia in the 1924 through 1936 directories. 

There's no listing in 1938 or 1939. It's been renamed the Roxy Theatre for its listing in the 1942 directory, still with the address as 211. It's listed with an address of 217 E. Philadelphia St. in 1944 and beyond. The theatre closed in 1968. For the last few decades of its operation it was part of the local circuit operated by Hugh W. Bruen.

Seats: 600 in later years with the balcony unused. Original capacity was 1,500.

Architects: Walker and Eisen      Status: Destroyed by an arson fire in 1971.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Roxie Theatre for many comments.

    Los Angeles Public Library    

A 1968 look at the closed theatre.
full size view


    Steven Otto Collection    

A postcard looking west on Philadelphia St. with
the Scenic Theatre on the left. Thanks, Steven!
full size view

    "Whittier"    

by Michael Garabedian and Rebecca Ruud.
Arcadia Publishing, 2016
| Google Books preview |

A 1928 Whittier Museum photo of the Scenic Theatre
appearing the book "Whittier." The kids are lined up
to see "Open Range" and "The Scarlet Arrow."
full size view | on Google Books

    Whittier Public Library    

cityofwhittier.org/depts/library | local history page


A c.1920 photo with the theatre on the far right.
On the marquee it looks like "An Old Fashioned
Boy," an October 1920 release.

full size view

The Library says that it was taken during a Liberty Bond
 drive -- but it may have been their successor, Victory Bonds,
as Liberty Bonds weren't sold after 1919. That's the gas
company
building in the center of the photo.

San Gabriel Theatre

330 W. Las Tunas Dr.

San Gabriel, CA 91776   | map

Opened: 1941 as the Edwards San Gabriel. It was still listed as the Edwards San Gabriel in the 1967 directory. Later in the 60s, after installing a new marquee, Edwards called it the Edwards Century Theatre. After the chain left it ran Chinese product in the 1980s and 90s as the Kuo Hwa Theatre.

Seats: 660              Architect:  Clifford Balch

Status: It was demolished in the mid-90s. After the demolition of this structure evidently a twin theatre, also called the Kuo Hwa, was built in another commercial building in San Gabriel on Valley Blvd. but it had a short life.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the theatre, which they have indexed as the Edwards Century Theatre. Thanks to Joe Vogel for his research!  And thanks to Ken McIntyre for finding a pdf in the Los Angeles Public Library collection that talks about earlier San Gabriel theatres.

    American Classic Images    

http://americanclassicimages.com


A 1982 photo of the theatre running Chinese films.
 full size view | on the Classics site


Santa Anita Theatre

135 Colorado Pl.

Arcadia, CA 91007   | map

Opened: 1942 as the Edwards Santa Anita. What is now Colorado Pl. was once Colorado Ave. It's listed in the 1948 and 1950 city directories as the Santa Anita at 131 W. Huntington Dr. -- the city did a bit of address switching.  In the early 60s it got renamed the Edwards Cinemaland. It was still running in the late 70s -- actual closing date is unknown

Seats: 743 was an early number, Ken Roe reports that 830 was the number that showed up in the 1950 and 1952 Film Daily yearbooks.       

Architect:  L.M. Bostock

Status: Demolished in the 80s. The site, across from the east end of the Santa Anita racetrack, has been redeveloped with office buildings.

The Santa Anita in the Movies: It's one of many Los Angeles area theatres that we get a quick look at in the nine minute short "Let's Go To The Movies" available on the Internet Archive. It was produced by RKO in 1948 for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. See our Theatres in Movies post for more views from the film.


The Santa Anita in "Let's Go To The Movies"

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the theatre, listed on that site as the Cinemaland. 


Sierra Madre Playhouse

87 W. Sierra Madre Blvd.

Sierra Madre, CA 91024   | map |

Website: sierramadreplayhouse.org

Opened:  1923 as the Wisteria Theatre, a name it kept into the early 40s. In 1946 it was renamed the Sierra Madre Theatre. Ken McIntyre found an item in a January 1946 issue of Boxoffice: "Harold Stein, owner of the Boulevard Theater here and co-owner of the Ritz in Inglewood, is taking over the Wisteria in Sierra Madre from George Tiderik. Stein will change the name of the showplace to the Sierra Madre."

In the late 60s and early 70s as an art house it was the Bogart Theatre. It's now the Sierra Madre Playhouse.

Seats: 400 was the number in the 1943 Film Daily yearbook, Ken Roe reports on Cinema treasures. In the 1952 edition the capacity given was 390.  It's now an Equity Waiver theatre with 99 seats.     

Architect: 

Status: Running films into the 70s, it's now a legit theatre.

Sierra Madre in the Movies:  We see the a lot of the town of Sierra Madre (playing the fictitious Santa Mira) in "Invasion of the Body Snatchers" (Allied Artists, 1956).

More Information: See The Cinema Treasures page on the Sierra Madre Playhouse.

    Ross Care on Flickr     

https://www.flickr.com/photos/39527581@N07/



The facade of the Sierra Madre Playhouse.
 full size view | on Flickr


    Sierra Madre News    

www.sierramadrenews.net


A 1946 photo. Thanks to Cinema Treasures
 contributor Teecee for the link to it.

Star Theatre

145 N. 1st St.    | map |

La Puente, CA   91744

Opened: 1947

Architect:  S. Charles Lee designed the building using semicircular wood trusses as the structure.  The photo here is from Google Maps.

Seating: 599

It became a porno venue in 1978.  In 2001 it got a makeover and started running first run family films with Mexican subtitles along with live performances.

Status: Closed 2007. It's scheduled for demolition to make way for a mixed use retail and residential project.

More information:  See the page on the Star Theatre.

State Theatre

255 S. Garey Ave.

Pomona, CA 91766   | map

Opened: 1940 or 1941. It was built on the site of the Belvedere Theatre, which had burned. Closing date is unknown. The location was on the block just north of the Fox Pomona.

Seats:  502   Architect: Clifford Balch   Status: Demolished. It's now a parking lot.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the State Theatre.

    Los Angeles Public Library    

A 40s look at the State.

Strand Theatre

12905 Philadelphia St.
  Whittier, CA  90601
| map

Opened: August 2, 1922. It started as an independent operation but later was run by Fox West Coast until about 1930. It's in the 1924, 1928 and 1929 city directories. But there seem to be no later listings.  Before street renumbering the address was 122 W. Philadelphia St.

In the photo we're looking west on Philadelphia toward Comstock Ave. The last storefront before that higher yellow-ocher colored IOOF lodge hall is 12905. Click on the photo to enlarge -- or head to Google for the interactive version.

Seats: 480

Status:  Remodeled long ago. Some of the building may still be there. The current tenant at 12905 is a tattoo parlor. That storefront was the entrance with the auditorium set way back behind the four shops. What's in back now is a low building that has either been chopped down from its height as a theatre or is newer construction. Joe Vogel reports that the building's initial construction date was 1902 with a big remodel in 1950.

More Information: See the Cinema treasures page on the Strand for all that is known -- Joe Vogel and Ron Pierce have done some nice research.

Sunkist Theatre

445 N. Garey Ave.
 

Pomona, CA 91767
 
| map

Opened:  November 4, 1931 as part of the short-lived Hughes-Franklin Circuit. In May of 1931 local investors operating under the name Uptown Theatre Co. had started work on what had been the site of a car dealership. The theatre, a $60,000 project, was to be operated by Hughes-Franklin on a 20 year lease. Hughes had earlier in 1931 acquired the Belvedere Theatre

Architect: S. Charles Lee

Seating:  874

The local Progress-Bulletin ran a six page special section about the theatre's opening. David Allen's 2016 article "Secret in Pomona: Forgotten Sunkist Theatre was owned by Howard Hughes" was done for the successor paper, the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin. Thanks to Michelle Gerdes for spotting the article and sending it our way. In his fine history of the building, Allen notes:

"Designed in the Monterey style, the exterior was made of whitewashed stone tile, with a roof of handmade Spanish tile. The lobby was done in reds and browns, with a style described as homey rather than ornate. One feature was a water fountain 'of Spanish and mosaic tile and glass' that would turn on automatically when someone leaned over it.

The auditorium seated 874 with seats upholstered in burnt orange and black. Six chandeliers 'of Spanish design' hung from the ceiling, which had 'massive beams' divided by panels 'with several bright Spanish colors subdued by splattered old gold softening. Coat-of-arms designs form a frieze along each beam,' the Prog wrote. There was no balcony, but restrooms, decorated in colored tile, were provided on a mezzanine level."

When the Hughes-Franklin circuit decided to liquidate, the Sunkist was picked up by Fox in April 1932 and then advertised as the Fox Sunkist. In city directories through 1940 it's the Fox Sunkist. In the 1948 directory it was just the Sunkist.  By 1953 Fox West Coast was gone and the theatre became a Spanish language house.

It ran until 1955 or 1956 before being converted to retail as the Garey Arcade in 1957. The Sunkist was the first of Pomona's major theatres to close. It wasn't helped by being six blocks away from the cluster of the State, United Artists and Fox Pomona.

Status: The building survives as retail space. The photo above is a 2015 Google Maps view. Click on it for a larger image -- or head to Google for the interactive version.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Sunkist Theatre. The Bulletin article noted above also appeared on the site My Informs.

    Los Angeles Public Library    

A 1931 opening day photo of the Sunkist.
full size view

    Pomona Public Library    

content.ci.pomona.ca.us/index.php


A 1935 Frasher photo of the Sunkist lobby.

The Pomona Library has three additional 1935 lobby views:

Superba Theatre

101 E. Main St.

Alhambra, CA   91801     | map

Opened: 1912 as the Alhambra Theatre. It was renamed the Superba in 1917 with the opening of another one called the Alhambra, a theatre that later became the Capri. In the 1923 city directory this one at 101 E. Main is listed as United Theatres, part of a local chain.

Status: Demolished in the early 30s.

More Information:  Visit the Cinema Treasures page on the Superba for Joe Vogel's research. Also see our listing for the third one called the Alhambra at 702 W. Main St., a theatre that had opened as the Temple.

    Los Angeles Public Library    

www.lapl.org


Looking east on Main St. in 1920 in a detail from a photo
located by Cinema Treasures researcher Joe Vogel. Joe notes that
the two story building just beyond the intersection at Stoneman Ave.
housed the theatre. The gabled building this side of the intersection
was the Pacific Electric Railway station in Alhambra.

Temple Theatre

1611 / 9015 Las Tunas Dr.  (@ Rosemead)   | map |

Temple City, CA   91780

Opened: 1940. The theatre was built for the Edwards circuit. We had a bit of street renumbering. It was still listed as at 1611 in the 1951 city directory but at 9015 Las Tunas in the 1953 and later directories.

Architect: S. Charles Lee. See our LATheatres.blogspot posts for photos of a few more of his designs.            

Seating:
750

Status:  Demolished in 1982 for construction of a four-plex.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures pages on the Temple and on the 1983 muliplex. The Cinema Tour page has five 2003 photos of the replacement complex, Edwards Temple Cinemas. That four screen complex opened in 1983 and was demolished in 2006. American Classic Images has an April 1982 look at the theatre's boxoffice.

There was also an earlier Temple Theatre in Alhambra (built by Walter Paul Temple) later called the El Rey Theatre.

    Los Angeles Public Library    

www.lapl.org


An undated view of S. Charles Lee's Temple
Theatre in the Library's collection.
full size view

Tumbleweed Theatre

11918 Garvey Ave. ( at Mountain View Rd., Five Points)  

El Monte, CA   91732   | map

Opened: 1939

Architect: S. Charles Lee designed this midwestern farm "theme" theatre for James Edwards. He just need a theatre in the area for competitive reasons but didn't want to spend much money. He was willing to accept anything, so the story goes, as long as it had a projection booth -- even a barn. That's what he got. The cost was reported to be $2,000.

Seating:  750

Status: Demolished sometime prior to 1970. It was still running in the mid 60s.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Tumbleweed.

    A Box of Pictures   



A 1955 view of the theatre in the Box of Pictures
Vintage Southern California set.The theatre is
running "We're no Angels." on Flickr

Ken McIntyre also has a version of this on Photobucket.


Thanks to Gaylord Wilshire for including the full photo in
his Noirish Los Angeles post #17829. It's Santa arriving
by helicopter at Crawford's Market.
full size view

    UCLA - S. Charles Lee Papers   


An exterior view from 1939 with the theatre playing Deanna
 Durbin in "Three Smart Girls Grow Up"  along with "Streets
 of New York."  The Archive's caption notes that we get a wishing
well and a wagon wheel fence to complete the farmyard theme.
Linda Hammonds posted the view above on the Facebook
page So Cal History with a nice history of the theatre included.



A night view of S. Charles Lee's rustic marvel.
 P.A.C. Photographers gets the credit for the shot.
 
full size view



A look at the auditorium. Check out
those wagon wheel chandeliers.
Also in the S.C. Lee Papers collection:
 | wishing well | tower | plans - elevations |
 | tower elevation & courtyard plan | aerial view |

United Artists Theatre

235 W. 3rd St.
 

| map

earlier address:

287 Thomas St.


Pomona, CA 90602

Opened: November 27, 1923 as the California Theatre, an operation of West Coast Theatres. The Corona Courier, in their issue of November 30, reported that the film at the opening was Buster Keaton's five reel film "Hospitality," allegedly a world premiere. At the opening were Keaton, his wife Natalie Talmadge, and Joe Schenck and his wife Norma Talmadge.

When West Coast Theatres came under Fox control in 1929 the theatre became known as the Fox California. The original entrance was at 287 S. Thomas St., with the lobby going through the building on the corner of Thomas and 3rd. Later this entrance was abandoned and the small lobby at the back of the house on 3rd became the main entrance.



A 1928 Sanborn insurance map showing the layout
of the theatre and the original entrance on Thomas St. This
 was posted on Cinema
Treasures but at last look
seems to have vanished from that site.
 full size view

Construction date of the building at the corner, originally known as the Investment Bldg. (now called the Founders Bldg.) is perhaps 1912 or 1913 -- although the owner's website says 1922. The site had a theatrical history before the opening of the California -- from 1885 until 1895 it was the location of the Pomona Opera House.

In the 1926 city directory the California's address is listed as "S. Thomas Ave nw cor 3rd."  The 287 S. Thomas address is used in 1928 and 1931. In the mid 30s the original lobby was abandoned and it's listed at 251 W. 3rd in the 1937/38 and 1940 directories. It gets the 235 W. 3rd address in the 1948 directory.

After the consent decree divestments of the late 40s, the venue got spun off to United Artists Theatre Circuit and it was rebranded as the United Artists. They had it by 1950 and it's listed as the United Artists in the 1951 city directory. After UA left, the house struggled for several years as a Spanish language film venue in the early 70s. Later as a concert hall it was known as the Pomona Valley Auditorium. Final closing date is unknown.

Seats: 1,212 is a later number. In 1923 the Corona Courier noted that the capacity was 1,800.  Ken Roe on Cinema Treasures reports a capacity of 1,275 initially.

Architects: Meyer & Holler. Ken Roe notes that the decor was a blend of Egyptian and Assyrian influences.

Status: It's now being used as a church by the group JRES Catolico. The photo above is a 2015 Google view looking west on 3rd St. from Thomas.  Click on the image to enlarge or head to Google for the interactive version. The south bay of the building at the right was the theatre's original entrance. If you were to turn around 180 degrees and look east, you could see the tower of the Fox.

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the theatre for lots of comments. They list as the California.

    Los Angeles Public Library    

www.lapl.org


A 1926 look at the original entrance of the theatre.
To the left we see the unadorned facade at the rear
of the house that would later become the entrance.
full size view




A 1970 photo of the 3rd St. entrance of the
theatre, then a Spanish language film house. 
full size view

    Pomona Public Library    

content.ci.pomona.ca.us/index.php

A 1928 Thomas St. entrance detail.
full size view | on the PPL site


An undated night photo from the United
Artists days in the Library's collection.
full size view | on the PPL site


Another marquee shot.
full size view | on the PPL site

Also in the Library's collection:
| usherettes - c.1924 |
| production onstage - fashion show - 1926 | another production shot - 1926 |
| band onstage - 1927 | elaborate draperies onstage - undated |
| entrance view - 1927 | entrance - wagon in front - "Covered Wagon" - 1924 |
| "Covered Wagon" - prologue set - 1924 | "Wagon" prologue - another shot |
| talent show onstage - 1928 | boxoffice in UA days - undated |

Valley Theatre

10818 Valley Mall

   | map |  

El Monte, CA 91731

Opened: 1923 as the Rialto Theatre. The original address was 326 W. Main St. It's listed that way in the 1925 through 1932 city directories.  In the 1935, 1937 and 1939 city directories that address has become 326 W. Valley Blvd.

During most of the theatre's early life it was operated by Arthur Sanborn. He went over to his new theatre, the
El Monte, in 1939. James Edwards then picked up the Rialto in 1940 for his circuit. It's unknown when it got renamed the Valley Theatre. Closing was in the early 1950s.

Architects: Walker & Eisen designed the theatre for local developer Walter Paul Temple. Joe Vogel on Cinema Treasures notes that the firm also designed what ended up as the El Rey Theatre in Alhambra for Mr. Temple.          

Seats:
500

Status: The building is still there built with a newer facade on it. With renumbering and another new name, it's now 10818 Valley Mall. The photo is a 2016 view looking east from Google Maps. The theatre entrance is that higher storefront at the center, here something called One Stop. Click on it to enlarge -- or head to Google for the interactive version.

More Information: Head to Cinema Treasures for some nice research by Joe Vogel. Thanks, Joe!

Perhaps another early one nearby: The 1923 city directory lists an El Monte Theatre at 331 W. Main St. -- almost across the street from the Rialto/Valley. Perhaps a mistaken listing for the new Rialto? Unknown.

    Ken Mcintyre on Photobucket   

s132.photobucket.com/user/kencmcintyre/library


Thanks to Ken McIntyre for this early view of the
theatre when it was still the Rialto. We're looking
 west on what was then called Main St.

Whittier Theatre

11612  Whittier Blvd.  | map |  

Whittier, CA 90601

Opened: July 31, 1929 as McNees Theatre. The opening attraction was "From Headquarters" with Monte Blue along with several vaudeville acts. It was the Warner Bros. Whittier from about 1930 through 1932.

Later it was just the Whittier and for a long period when operated by the Bruen circuit, it was known as Bruen's Whittier. Pacific Theatres was the operator after October 1969 and it was back to just being the Whittier Theatre. It ended as a bargain house after the first run business went elsewhere.

Architect: David S. Bushnell of Whittier designed the Spanish revival themed complex of shops around a patio that led back to the atmospheric theatre.

Seating: 1,016, almost all on one level. There were two small private boxes on either side of the booth but not a real balcony.

Status: Demolished. It sustained some damage in the October 1, 1987 Whittier earthquake and didn't reopen following that. The consensus was that the building was eminently repairable. The owner preferred to redevelop the property with new strip mall buildings. The demolition didn't happen until four years after the earthquake.

More Information:  See our page on the Whittier Theatre.

    Library of Congress   

www.loc.gov/pictures

A 1947 postcard of the Whittier running Disney's "Fun
and Fancy Free" with Edgar Bergen and Dinah Shore.
full size view


Whittier Village Cinemas

7038 Greenleaf Ave. (@ Wardman St.)   | map

Whittier, CA 90601

Opened: 1931 as the Wardman Theatre. It was an independent, then part of the Bruen and Pacific chains. In the 70s it was a Pussycat Theatre. The theatre closed as a result of damage from the 1987 Whittier Narrows earthquake.

Architect: David S. Bushnell     Seating: 952 originally

Status: The marquee and facade are still there. The original auditorium is subdivided and, with a huge addition, it's now an 8 plex, the Whittier Village Cinemas.  Nothing of the original interior decor remains, at least in the public spaces.

More information:  See our page on the Wardman/Whittier Village Cinemas.

    Yelp   

Yelp.com


An lovely view of the upgraded
1931 marquee by Kat J.