Grand Lake Theatre

3200 Grand Avenue,
Oakland, CA 94610

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Showing 26 - 50 of 80 comments

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 13, 2009 at 11:29 am

This guy is worse than the old Soviet Union.

I don’t understand why he thinks it is good business to offend people on the marquee, unless he’s so rich that it doesn’t matter to him if the theatre makes money or not. There is a very good reason why conventional wisdom says not to discuss politics.

I know California is very liberal. But there are still enough Republicans out there. Most hard-core Republicans I know would turn around and walk back to their car if they saw that.

MPol on November 7, 2008 at 8:14 pm

First of all, even though I don’t live in California, much less Oakland, that theatre’s another fantastic-looking theatre, inside and out.

Secondly, now that Bush and his Republican Administration will be out of office come late January 2009, I wonder if they’ll start playing more of the great, old classics in addition to the crappy stuff that gets played reglarly at these antiseptic-looking multiplex cinemas across the country. The old movie palaces that’re left should concentrate more on great older classic films.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 7, 2008 at 7:26 pm

They really need to relax. I don’t like Bush & Cheney either. But this is just silly.

Eric on October 16, 2008 at 10:34 pm

Strangely, they are showing “W.” this weekend. Of course, the patrons will see it here only to mock it and heckle the movie. Should be interestin'..

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on October 14, 2008 at 12:26 pm

I’m not a McCain fan. But they should cool it with those political messages on the marquee. It’s difficult enough trying to fill up an old movie palace without pissing off half the potential patrons in your community.

Karskidecedent on February 12, 2008 at 11:46 am

Just watched video posted above by HowardBHaas listing Allen Marchaan as the owner. Allen Marchaan is NOT the owner of the Grand Lake Theater – he pays rent every month. Look it up.

Scott on February 10, 2008 at 10:37 am

Well, now here is why I love going to see a movie. To read some jerk’s political views up on the marquee. So much for escapism.

HowardBHaas on February 10, 2008 at 7:04 am

Oakland’s Grand Lake Theatre video including interview with owner & organist

kencmcintyre on January 11, 2008 at 11:57 am

Held up pretty well, hasn’t it?

kencmcintyre on January 2, 2008 at 5:03 pm

Here is a photo, circa late 20s or early 30s:

terrywade on August 22, 2007 at 8:46 am

With the new Alameda Theaters do to open sometime soon with it’s main huge theatre the Grand Lake is going to loose many customers. You watch as soon as the Alameda opens watch Allen re open up to the movie public his semi private auction art deco auction theatre in Alameda. The Grand Lake will have some competion for the first time since the Jack London Sq Theatre opened that Regal just remodled.

bruceanthony on August 21, 2007 at 3:44 pm

Yes National General became Mann Theatres after Ted Mann bought the National General Theatres which was Fox West Coast years earlier. The Grand Lake has always been fortunate to be in a very nice area with parking problems like most urban areas. Mann theatres never booked the Grand Lake properly after the decline of the roadshow films. They had a beautiful renovated theatre and played Disney films. They didn’t start booking the blockbuster films again until Allen took over the Grand Lake.brucec

William on August 21, 2007 at 11:22 am

brucec, Didn’t Mann Theatre operate it before Allen bought it?

bruceanthony on August 21, 2007 at 10:57 am

I take it that Allen wants to keep the Grand Lake because I know he closed the Oaks and Park and didn’t renew the lease on the Orinda. I saw the beautiful Auctions at the Bay in Alameda where he poured a great deal of money if only the Grand Lake was kept up like that. I repeat the Grand Lake was in great shape when National General gave up the house to Allen because a major renovation was done in 1966-67. I know that Allen has poured a great deal of money into the Grand Lake over the years and has done very well.New competition from Jack London and Emeryville has cut into the profits of the Grand Lake and money needs to put back into the Grand Lake to compete becuase I have noticed a decline the last few years.Maybe Allen needs to repostion the Grand Lake more as a specialty theatre and classics instead of competing with the megaplex theatres. Maybe a mix of both mainstream, specialty and classics. I saw my first film at the Grand Lake in 1959 which was “Ben Hur” and my last film “Harry Potter” so I have attended this theatre for almost five decades. I really want to see the Grand Lake remain successful with Allen. The theatre really needs new carpets and a touch up in a few places. The above comment concerning Landmark, I have seen them do a wonderful job with historic theatres and have seen rundown theatres they run such as the Rialto in South Pasadena which just closed. I only made the remark concerning Landmark, if Allen was lossing interest in the Grand Lake which I hope he is not.brucec

mcmikecroaro on August 18, 2007 at 4:05 pm

“Allen either needs to put some money back into the theatre or give it to Landmark to run as a specialty house.”

What a joke. Landmark runs some of the most run down theatres. The notion that they would invest money on to the site is very hard for me to believe. We should all hope that Allen hols on tho this theatre for a very long time.

tarantex on August 17, 2007 at 11:31 am

To All; Allen, is a great movie theatre operater! you all should know that aging palaces are not cheap to keep up. he does maintain
this theatre . as far as the comments about lighting up the tower marquee, the PG&E to light this is exuberant! not to mention if the neon has to be replaced from running all the time . So to all of the negative comments that are said , I want to say Allen is a Great theatre owner! and he does pay attention to the up keep of his theatres. It takes a lot of concession sales to run any theatre. not to mention what the film companies take from you! Allen keep up the good work! my friend!

bruceanthony on August 17, 2007 at 10:43 am

Terry I agree the Grand Lake could use a little touch up. It also is starting to look a little shabby on the outside.Allen either needs to put some money back into the theatre or give it to Landmark to run as a specialty house. I think the Grand Lake would do well with specialty films like they run at the Piedmont.Allen seems to be loosing interest in the Grand Lake I hope this is not true.brucec

terrywade on August 10, 2007 at 12:10 pm

Bruce thanks for your note. I don’t think seeing Sound of Music at the Roxie in Oakland after it had played in SF for many months on the Roxie small screen in 35mm was Roadshow. Same at the Grand Lake, they didn’t show in full 70mm nor most times they didn’t give programs for sale. You may have thought you were at at a Roadshow presentation, but if you saw the same film in Hollywood or SF a few months before it looked great. Did the Grand Lake have reserved seats? I don’t remember. What bothered me with the Roxie in Oakland they put in the advertisement 70mm or Todd-Ao many times they just took the logo from the reel roadshow and just used it. Most people that didn’t go to SF prob didn’t know the 35mm rip off. Wow if the Grand Lake had put in a big curved sceen how great this theatres projection roadshow look for the people of Oakland. 35mm or 70mm at least the Grand Lake is still open, but I think Its roadshow days are gone. I saw Dreamgirls at the big theatre downstairs and the right surrounds did'nt come on. I asked the projectionist Steffon about it, he told me they need to fix it. Next time you go to the Grand Lake check to see if the right surrounds are on. The place needs new rugs in the lobby very bad.

bruceanthony on August 10, 2007 at 11:40 am

Terry I attended the Grand Lake during the roadshow era I always thought the quality was first rate. Natinal General did a major renovation prior to the opening of “Camelot” and did a first rate job. I always preferred the Grand Lake over the Roxie during the roadshow era. Oakland always had to wait at least 6 months to a year after San Francisco in getting films like “The Sound Of Music” and “Dr Zhivago”.These movies would play the Roxie and the Grand Lake for several months. It was the studios that dictated how the roadshow films were booked. San Francisco always opened with Exclusive Northern California Engagement when opening films like “Ben Hur”, “My Fair Lady”,“Cleopatra”,“Lawrence of Arabia”,“West Side Story”,“Those Magnificient Men in there Flying Machines”,“How The West Was Won”, “The Sand Pebbles”,“Gone With The Wind”,“Dr Zhivago”,“The Sound of Music”,“ Its a Mad Mad Mad World”,“Funny Girl”,“Oliver” and “Patton” to name a few. I always thought the roadshow reserved seat presentations were the best I have ever seen. These movies would only open in a Deluxe theatres such as the Pantages in Hollywood, Rivoli in New York,Warner in DC,United Artists in San Francisco,Saxon in Boston,Boyd in Philidelphi,Palace in Chicago,United Artists in Detroit and other key cities across the nation. Many of these films would only open in 15-30 theates across the nation and then the studios would slowly roll them out depending on business, to other cities. The last successful roadshow reserved seat movie was “Fiddler on the Roof” in the early 1970’s.brucec

terrywade on August 8, 2007 at 6:10 am

When Fox West Coast ran it they fooled the people of Oakland thinking they had a road show theatre. All the big 70mm road shows played San Francisco first, later in the run the Grand Lake picked up the prints before they went to the small theatres and booked them like it was the same thing as road show. They didn’t tell the people they only had 35mm. I think later on they did put in 70mm when Allen came on board.

bsb00 on July 24, 2007 at 12:12 pm

I enjoy films at the Grand Lake, I wish there were better movies available. I don’t come as often as I would like because the movies aren’t very good. I wish you could run some older films like the Paramount did a few years ago. I would attend Grand Lake more if they could run some older films like ‘Gone with the Wind’ or ‘Ben Hur. I don’t have allot of money, but I would do almost any thing to help the Grand Lake to stay open, let me know if there is any way I could help. I could come to more shows, however there aren’t that many good films being made.

Mr. Bari Brown

Wishing you well in keeping the Grand Lake open.

Eric on May 1, 2007 at 5:04 pm

Awesome photo. You always find all the good photos Lost Memory. Thank you for your hard work and your contributions to this site!

robertgippy on December 1, 2006 at 6:52 am

Here is some trivia for you. The Grand Lake at one time, before the balcony was converted, was the showcase for Disney Films. Remember all those early Disney Movies, like Candelshoe, and Escape To Witch Mountain? Well they played there. A disgruntled projectionist, was fired for smoking weed in the the booth. He was also the projectionist at the T&D, and spliced in a porno trailer in the preview trailer. The Grand Lake audience was treated to about 20 seconds of “Memories within miss aggie”. when the new projectionist turned it off and switched to the main feature, the whole floor yelled BOOOOOO and PUT IT BACK ON! I was there when it happened and let me tell you, it was hysterical!!!! Ah, the memories of the grand lake!

thenostromo on February 17, 2006 at 10:51 pm

I came to this webpage just to see where this theater is located for a March 30, 2006 Lecture: “9/11: The Myth & the Reality” by David Ray Griffin. I enjoyed reading this thread and clicking on the links with photos. I don’t see anyone remarking about attending lectures at this facility, though. Looking forward to it.