United Artists Theatre - Pasadena



606 E. Colorado Blvd.    | map

Pasadena, CA   91101


Opened: 1931

Architects:  Clifford Balch, A.R Walker and P.A. Eisen.

This firm of Walker and Eisen did a number of projects for United Artists in the early 30s including similar theatres in Long Beach, East Los Angeles, Inglewood and the Four Star on Wilshire Blvd.

Earlier, they had designed the building containing the United Artists Theatre downtown although not the theatre itself.

This house was strictly for the movies, with no stage facilities.

Seating: 912 originally, down to 736 after re-seating in 1960.

Like all the other United Artists houses, the UA Pasadena was initially operated by Fox West Coast. The theatre was used for lots of previews and test screenings including Hitchcock's "Suspicion" and Orson Welles' "Magnificient Ambersons."

Starting in 1950 as a result of the consent decree it was operated directly by the United Artists Theatre Circuit. In 1960 it got a remodel and was advertised as "newly glamorized."  Part of that glamor was an uninspired sheet metal facade covering the original deco plaster. Work on the $250,000 makeover also included new seating, carpet and drapes.

70MM at the United Artists: "Omen" (1976) and "Alien" (1979) both played the United Artists in 70mm.

Status: Closed in 1990. UA at the time was also operating the UA Marketplace 6. It's now used as a retail store, Angels School Supply. In 1997 the current owners removed the ghastly sheet metal facade from 1960 and did a nice restoration job on the deco detailing.

More information: See the Cinema Treasures page on the UA Pasadena for lots of data from Joe Vogel and links to more exterior photos by Ken McIntyre and others.  The Cinema Tour page has several exterior views from the Scott Neff collection.

From Script to DVD has a page on the United Artists with a 2002 exterior view along with several detail shots. It's on the site's section celebrating theatres that were 70mm equipped.

Our page on the Long Beach United Artists has links to some nice California State Library interior views for a look at a typical UA house of this period.  There seem to be no surviving interior shots of the UA Pasadena.




The entrance area -- now enclosed.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010





Display cases near what had been the boxoffice area.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010




In the auditorium -- a look
back toward the booth.


photo: Bill Counter - 2010




    American Classic Images   

americanclassicimages.com


American Classics has this 1983 view of the
covered up UA facade in its collection. 
full size view


Also in the collection:
 | 1981 daytime view  |




    Huntington Digital Library   

hdl.huntington.org/cdm


A 1936 view of the United Artists all dolled up for
 "San Francisco" with Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy.
It's a Harold A. Parker photo taken for the theatre.
full size view

We'd better go -- the marquee says they're giving
away a 1936 Plymouth sedan tonight!

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





    Pasadena Daily Photo   




This view is from Petrea Burchard's blog post from 2010:
 "Vestiges of Deco Glory."  Note the stagehouse of the
Pasadena Playhouse behind the UA on the left.
 full size view

Petrea's blog works on uncovering
Pasadena's hidden treasures.



    Joe Schumacher on Flickr   

www.flickr.com/photos/jschumacher



A lovely 2009 night view of the
facade by Joe Schumacher. It's in
his Pasadena and Los Angeles set.
full size view




    Tahoe 61 on Flickr   

http://www.flickr.com/photos/33142718@N00/


A 1996 view of the United Artists
Pasadena by Tahoe 61. 

full size view



    USC Archives    

digitallibrary.usc.edu/cdm


A view looking west on Colorado Blvd. with the UA
hiding behind a palm tree. It's a c. 1939
image by Dick Whittington studio.
full size view







A view of the facade of the former United Artists Pasadena.
The railing at top is actually the alley side of the
stagehouse of the Pasadena Playhouse.


photo: Bill Counter - 2010

[ click any of these to enlarge ]




Another facade view.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010





A look at the east side of the building. The Pasadena
Playhouse
is just off to the left of the image.


photo: Bill Counter - 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.




    Agility Nut   

www.agilitynut.com/theatres/ca.html





A great view of the "Unity" panel on the UA facade in
Debra Jane's collection.  full size view




The " Artistry" panel.  full size view

These 2 great views are part of her
California Theatres page 5 collection.




    California State Library   

www.library.ca.gov



A 1931 view from across the street. It's from
 the California Library's Mott-Merge collection.
 full size view



A closer view of the entrance and tower. 
full size view




A wonderful night view from Mott Studios.
They're playing
"The Yellow Ticket" (1931)
with Lionel Barrymore.

 full size view




    Pasadena, A Business History   

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

Arcadia Press  |  Google books preview



A 1931 view of the United Artists Theatre appears
in this fine book.
Note the See's Candy store at the left.
The text notes that Mary See was a Pasadena native.
On Google books: full size view



    Theatres in Los Angeles   

www.arcadiapublishing.comgoogle books preview


A 1945 view of the United Artists Pasadena on
p.106 of  "Theatres in Los Angeles" by Suzanne Tarbell
Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall and Marc Wanamaker.
Arcadia Publishing, 2008.

Most of the rare photos in the book
are from Mr. Wanamaker's Bison Archives.

Ken McIntyre also has the photo on the
Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page.
It's also in one of his Photobucket
albums.



    You Are Here   

you-are-here.com



An interesting angle on the UA from prolific
photographer of all things Los Angeles, Martin. 
full size view

See his Pasadena section for a
list of his photos of the city.