Academy Theatre Pasadena

1003 E. Colorado Blvd.     | map |

Pasadena, CA  91106 

(626) 229-9400


Opened: June 1925 as Bard's Egyptian. Bob Bennett of the Pasadena Museum of History notes that the 1925 Pasadena city directory listed it as Bard's Pasadena.

The construction announcement in the Pasadena Evening Post said it was going to be called Bard's Alexandria and built at a cost of "not less than $500,000."

Lou Bard operated a number of other theatres including three downtown theatres: the
Town Theatre, the College Theatre and the Olympic. Bard's was the circuit that also built the Vista Theatre on Sunset Dr. in the Los Feliz area.

Bard also had the Glen Theatre in Glendale, the West Adams Theatre and the Garfield in Alhambra.

Architect:  Lewis A. Smith. See our blogspot posts for other projects by the prolific Mr. Smith.

Seating: 1,709 originally. The construction announcements promised 2000.

History: Later Bard changed the name to Bard's Colorado. By 1931 Fox West Coast was operating the house (presumably on a lease from Bard) it and became the Fox Colorado.

Joe Vogel on Cinema Treasures notes that the Boxoffice issue of January 24, 1942 reported Bard had sold the property to Fox. It closed and got a streamline moderne redo that removed all traces of the original Egyptian look. Much of the statuary was hidden behind new plaster sporting murals of mermaids and underwater scenes. When it reopened, it was called the Academy.  Boxoffice reported that story on July 11, 1942.

The theatre evidently got new carpet in 1950 -- it was celebrated in an ad for Gulistan carpet in the April 1, 1950 issue of Boxoffice. The facade and tower got a major remodel in 1957. The streamline interior decor was still evident into the early 80s while it was still a single screen house.

It was later operated by the successor companies to Fox West Coast,  National General Corp. and Mann Theatres.  For years it was a favorite theatre for studio previews.

The facade was stripped down for the mid-80s remodel with the evident intent of restoration. Alas, such was not to be as damage from earthquake retrofit work and earlier remodels had taken their toll. So we got a flat plaster version. And six little theatres inside.

The balcony got split into two theatres. The main floor has four -- two forward all the way onto the stage, 2 in the rear. The two forward theatres are accessed down corridors located where the original theatre's side aisles were.

Status: Now operated by Regency Theatres. The Academy offers first and sub run product on 6 screens at bargain prices. $2 matinees!

Only a few bits of interior decor of interest remains. The investigation continues!

More Information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the Academy Theatre for lots of stories and historic detail. The Cinema Tour page on the Academy has some photos by Scott Neff and Mark Campbell.

And if you're looking for information on Pasadena's other Egyptian themed theatre, see our page on the Uptown.

The rear of the theatre.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

The forward 2 screens on the main floor
come within 8' of the backstage wall.

[ click any of these photos to enlarge ]

A bit of terrazzo left over from the 40s remodel.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

The lobby of the Academy. It's $2 matinee time.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

One of the front two theatres on the main floor.

 Note the "booth on stilts."

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

A view of the exciting balcony level foyer.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

A murky view of one of the 2 upstairs auditoria.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

    American Classic Images

A 1981 view in the American Classic
Images collection.  full size view

Also in the collection:
  | 1983 night view |  1983 day view  |

    Dave's Electric Railroads   

A nice 50s view of a Pacific Electric Red Car
on route 1229 down Colorado Blvd. That's the
tower of the Academy Theatre in the distance.
 full size view

On the site:
| more Pacific Electric photos |

    Los Angeles Public Library Collection

A 1931 look at the exterior of the theatre. Note
 that it's already being called the Fox Colorado.
 full size view

A sketch of the 1957 remodel
the Library's collection.
full size view

    Pasadena Digital History Collaboration

A 1927 view looking north toward the theatre from
 the Pasadena Museum of History collection. We're at
the De Luxe Gasoline Station at Colorado and Catalina. 
The photographer is unknown.
full size view

A 20s Rose Parade shot looking east.
The archive dates it as 1925 but perhaps it's
1926 -- the theatre didn't open until June 1925.
A cropped version of this 1925 view appears in the
Arcadia Publishing book "Pasadena, A Business History."

    Pasadena Star News

Alex Cheatham, who works at the Academy, has come
up with what may be the only interior view of the theatre when
it was Bard's Egyptian. It appeared in the Pasadena Star News
on June 24, 1925.  Click on it for a slightly larger view.

The Headline at the top read:

Copy underneath the photo:
Is But a suggestion as to the Classic Beauty and Riot of Colors
W [?] Caught in Decorative Scheme.

Pantages Vaudeville to be Featured With Masterpieces
of Many Notable Film Producers. Many Celebrities in
Screenland May Be Seen in The Photograph."

Thanks for the research, Alex!

    Vintage Los Angeles

A 1963 Rose Parade view
from the Richard Wojcik
collection on Vintage Los Angeles. We're looking west with
that big pink hulk of the Academy behind the float. 
full size view

Another 1963 Rose Parade photo from
the Richard Wojcik collection.
full size view

And thanks to Stephen Russo for spotting
the lower photo on Vintage Los Angeles.

A rare view of the lobby of the Fox Colorado in 1930.
The theatre is promoting the run of "Tom Sawyer." 

photo: Bob Bennett - Pasadena Museum of History

Bob found the photo in the scrapbook of Lester Clark, once
manager of the Fox Colorado. All the Egyptian theme decor was
obliterated during the Fox West Coast moderne remodeling of 1942.

Thanks, Bob!

[ click any of these photos to enlarge ]

A view of the Academy Theatre.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007

A look at the entrance of the Academy Theatre.

photo: Bill Counter - 2007

A view from across the street.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

Some painted detail work in a back exit corridor.

photo: Alex Cheatham - 2010

Alex has been looking in the dark corners at the Academy
and located this bit of painted detail from a 40s version
of the theatre. Note the exit door at the left of the photo. 

Thanks, Alex!

[ click any of these photos to enlarge ]

More painted detail of clouds and Saturn in
a back exit corridor for one of the balcony theatres.

photo: Alex Cheatham - 2010

A bit of molded plaster ornament
remaining in the balcony.

photo: Alex Cheatham - 2010

A painted version of the same ornament
in another balcony location.

photo: Alex Cheatham - 2010

about photos from other
websites that appear on this page...

We've tried to give appropriate credit. Please 
contact us if there are incorrect attributions, links that 
no longer work or other issues. A link near each image will 
direct you to a full size version on the website hosting it. 
Assume that all the images are subject to copyright 
restrictions.  Contact the webmaster of the site in
question concerning reproduction or other use.

   Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences   

A rare night view of the Academy from 1928.
 The photo is from the B'hend and Kaufmann collection,
part of the AMPAS Margaret Herrick Library.
Playing at the Academy is "Feel My Pulse" with Bebe Daniels,
Richard Arlen and William Powell. Along with the feature is the
 Fanchon and Marco stage show: "Dance Paintings Idea."


A look at the balcony level lounge in an ad for Gulistan
Carpet that appeared in the April 1, 1950 issue.
 larger photo | full ad in Boxoffice

Thanks to Joe Vogel for finding the ad.

    Huntington Digital Library

A 1928 look at the theatre, then called the Colorado.
It's a photo in the Huntington Library collection
by Harold A. Parker.
full size view

The marquee reads: Charles "Buddy" Rogers in
"Someone To Love" with Mary Brian. Stage - F & M
"Specialty Idea" - Celeste and Mexican Orchestra.

On the Huntington Library page you can
use the slider to get a larger image -- then you
can pan around to explore details.

The photo also appears in the Pasadena Dogital History collection.

A detail from the image above -- click to enlarge.

    Motion Picture News    

On the Internet Archive is the Motion Picture News
issue of December 28, 1929. Section Two is the
"Theatre Building & Buyers Guide" with a 1927 photo
of the Academy, here still the Fox Colorado, in an article
 "Harold B. Franklin Analyzes Theatre Personality."
the page  |  on FB/LAtheatres

    Pasadena, A Business History   

by Patrick Conyers, Cedar Phillips
 and the Pasadena Museum of History.
Arcadia Publishing, 2007

Arcadia Publishing  |  Google books preview

A 20s view of the Colorado Theatre with the

 Rose Parade passing by appears in this fine book.
 full size view

    Photos of Los Angeles

A 1942 view posted by Ken McIntyre on his
always adventurous Facebook page.
full size view  |  a re-post

In this photo, the theatre is getting ready to reopen
as the Academy after a remodel by Fox West Coast.