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. United Artists Theatre circuit at the time was also operating Pasadena's UA Marketplace 6 downtown.

For years after closing as a theatre the United Artists was used as a retail store, Angels School Supply. In 1997 they removed the ghastly sheet metal facade from 1960 and did a nice restoration job on the deco detailing.

The building sold again in 2015. Jesse Lattig, the Preservation Director at Pasadena Heritage reports that the new owner is considering using the building as a co-working facility.

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 as a school supply
store -- a look back toward the booth.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

    American Classic Images   


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  |

    Cinema Treasures   


A 1945 photo from the Bill Gabel collection gives
 us a look at the marquee after they got rid of the
original milk glass letters. The feature is "Abbott
 & Costello in Hollywood."
full size view

It's also on p.106 of "Theatres in Los Angeles"
by Suzanne Tarbell Cooper, Amy Ronnebeck Hall
and Marc Wanamaker. Arcadia Publishing, 2008.

Ken McIntyre also has the photo on the
Photos of Los Angeles Facebook page
 and in one of his Photobucket

    Huntington Digital Library   


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   


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

    USC Archives    


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 1932 entrance view.

photo: Ronald W. Mahan colection

It's a photo by Peerless Photo Service that used to
be in the collection of  Johnny Bresnik. Thanks, Ron!

[ click any of these to enlarge ]

A view of the facade of the former United Artists Pasadena.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

The "railing" at the top is actually the alley side of the
stagehouse of the Pasadena Playhouse.

Another facade view.

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

Here it's Angels School Supply, a store that has closed.
 Stay tuned for a new use from a new owner of the building.

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

photo: Bill Counter - 2010

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    Roadside Architecture   


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   


A 1931 view from across the street. It's from
 the California Library's Mott Studios 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

The Library's 3 views of the UA are
cataloged as set # 001387098.

    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

The photo above also appears on Tourmaline's
 Noirish Los Angeles post #20423.

    Tahoe 61 on Flickr   


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

full size view

    You Are Here   


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.