Orinda Theatre

Moraga Way and Brookwood Road,
Orinda, CA 94563

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cnmpat on November 17, 2003 at 8:11 am

Walt and Pat Sonnenstuhl, of the Art Deco Society Northwest <<http://www.artdeconw.org/>>, lived in Orinda, CA from 1973-1983 when the “Save the Orinda Theater” group was able to save this historic building from the wrecking ball. We were both members of group, and Walt contributed his musical talent to fund raisers. Bob and Lois McKim did yearly musicals, and in 1982 “Sly Masterful' played by Dale Lindholm was the villain of "That’s Entertainment”.
Razzmatazz provided musical support for the musicals, and Walt was part of this group. This musical was a spoof on the issue and increased awareness of the Save the Orinda Theater efforts. Once
the theater became a historical landmark it was saved. The theater is currently being used as a cinema. The photos below were taken by Walt Sonnenstuhl, and these Art Deco images would have been lost without saving this priceless piece of Art Deco.
Walt was the proprietor of Orinda Electronics which was across the street from this glorious structure. Our thanks to Walt Sonnenstuhl of the Art Deco Society Nortwest, and John Gerecht a local Olympia area photographer for helping the Webmidwife create these graphics. Walt can be reached by email: <<>
More information and pictures:

Donald John Long
Donald John Long on November 19, 2002 at 2:38 pm

Thanks to all those wonderful people (and you know who you are) who contributed funds or efforts to restore and preserve this marvelous Art Deco Moderne picture palace – one of the Bay Area’s finest. We must have something of real artistic value to leave our posterity more than strip malls and cineplexes. If you want a first class cinema experience, visit the Orinda Theater, and you will not be disappointed!

GaryParks on April 18, 2002 at 10:59 pm

errata: My comment above SHOULD say, “Court of the Moon towers at the 1939-1940 (NOT 1930-1940) Golden Gate Exposition…”

GaryParks on April 18, 2002 at 10:53 pm

Even when new, it can be argued that the Orinda was one of the finest theatres built in the Bay Area during the 40s. It is one of only two theatres I know of which drew their exterior inspiration directly from the Court of the Moon towers at the 1930-1940 Golden Gate Exposition on Treasure Island (the other theatre to do so was the Santa Cruz in Santa Cruz, a 1939 remodel of a 1920 theatre—still standing as an office/retail building, but minus its tower). The architect of the Orinda was Alexander Aimwell Cantin. The theatre is in beautiful shape, inside and out, and is currently operated by Renaissance Rialto Theatres. Two additional screens were added in a deco bank building next door, utilizing elements from other lost theatres, most notably the gutted Garden Theatre in San Jose.