Showing 26 - 35 of 35 comments
If you would like to see what the original marquee of the Ritz looked like, look at the Sunset Theater in Lodi California. I wonder if they were built by the same person, as the building and marquee are exactly the same, except the Ritz had a green vertical with the ritz letters in red.
Everytime we passed by this theater, we thought of the Ritz theater in Hayward. They both looked exactly the same, marquee and everything except that the Ritz marquee was green, and the letters spelling ritz were in red.
This theater was built by the Rheem family, of the famous Rheem Water Heater Company. I think that every home back then had one They made a fortune and they are still in business. When we went there for the first time, we noticed attached onto the back of the Orinda Theater was a big neon sign in green. It said “Rheem Theater – 5 miles” and had a green arrow showing you the way, you couldn’t miss it you could see it from the freeway. It was a nice drive, scenic like you’re in the country, 2 lane road to Rheem Valley. What I liked about the Rheem was the seating. It was very comfortable and gave you plenty of room. Haven’t been there in decades, glad to see it is still open
One night my friends and I took the bus downtown to go see My Fair Lady. We stopped at the Doggie Diner on Broadway for a burger, and noticed that the Art Cinema was playing “My Bare Lady”. None of us saw a adult film before, so we decided to go. The ticket lady asked us if we knew what was playing inside, she checked out our id’s and we went in. We were the only women in there! We found seats upstairs, and when we all sat down, all of a sudden men were starting to sit behind us, in front of us, and a few in the aisle that we were in. Many were in the military. We got nervous, got up and left and on our way out, the ticket lady laughed at us.
Went there with my parents as a kid a few times, the last movie we saw was Caged with Eleanor Parker. It was a nice theater but towards the end, they just let it go. It closed just a few weeks later. Every time we went, I would look down McArthur Blvd, and see the Laurel with all its flashing neon.
Went there a few times, all the movies I saw there were widescreen except one time we went in to see The Little Shop of Horrors. The screen didn’t have a black border around the movie, but a projected border that looked like gold squares of the statues on the sides of the stage. Those statues were beautiful, how during the movie they would periodically spew smoke from the bowls and the back would flash green like a little explosion. I would love to see the inside again oneday, if only something decent was there. Terry and Simon were right, they should also show films and have performances for us seniors.
Only went to the Diamond twice. Each time we went, there was hardly anybody in there. It seemed to play pictures there that no one was interested in seeing, all the popular films showed at the Laurel, Fruitvale and Fairfax. We used to go to Junes Lone Star for hamburgers and shakes, then to a movie afterwards. Everytime we looked at the paper to decide where to go, we always skipped the Diamond because it was also just too expensive to get inside. No one seemed to miss it when it closed. I went to Cannucks on the corner to get a magnavox record player, and they were remodeling the diamond for the new Lucky supermarket. The side door was open so I walked inside to peek and looked up and all I remember seeing were steel girders, then this man came to me and asked me to leave. It didn’t look like anything was saved in there.
My girlfriends and I went there once to see Tempest Storm. When we walked in the manager approached us and advised us to sit upstairs so we wouldn’t get hassled by the male customers. We did. Snuck in some rum and bought cokes from the snack bar and got blitzed. We had a blast. When tempest storm came onstage she was amazing, how she had the tassles on her breasts go in different directions. This girl named Patty was topless and walked up and down the aisles banging on a drum, selling cigarettes and candy. They showed this movie called the Diary of Knockers McCalla. When we decided to leave we used the exit door of the loge on the left, there was this staircase that went down to 11th street. halfway down the stairs, there was a little apartment that was filled with strippers. We got invited in and partied until about 3 in the morning. What I remember also was above the screen was a plaster face of a woman with glowing eyes in the dark. Kinda spooky looking
I went to the Fairfax a lot in the sixties. The parking lot had a posterboard facing Bancroft Avenue, showing what was playing on one side, and what was coming soon on the other, using the real movie posters. In the early 60’s, I had a crush on the ticket taker,he was a cutie pie so nicely dressed and friendly with everyone as you walked in. I went to Fremont High and one night we had a dance in the gym. My boyfriend and I got into a spat, and I stormed out. When I stepped out to Foothill, the Fairfax rooftop sign was on, so I walked all the way to the Fairfax, party dress and all. “Station Six Sahara” with Carroll Baker was playing and there was a note on the box office glass that the movie was for adults only. The woman in the box office was hesitant in selling me a ticket and all of a sudden the cutie pie ticket taker came out and said “My you look lovely this evening, movie begins in less than a minute” and let me in. Its amazing that a city like Oakland, does not have any neighborhood theaters left. Sad
I am so happy to see that this theater is still there. When it closed, the neighborhood was rough. It closed because people were afraid to go into the neighborhood, 23rd and E.14th was one of the first neighborhoods to slip in the mid 50’s in Oakland. I visited for the first time just last week in 40 years and it is worse! Just a few blocks up the street, the police were investigating a gang shooting. It is still a church, and I knocked on the door wanting to see the inside. A really nice gentleman let me in and let me look around. I can’t believe that the snack bar is still there, to the left when you first walk in. The lobby, still looks the same, with the staircase leading to the balcony, with the original blue carpeting, just the way I remembered it! The lighting fixtures are still there. The restrooms look the same, it has been whitewashed over in some spots, but the interior is spotless, and well maintained. The auditorium looks like a step back in time. The ceiling that had star lights are still there, the murals are all gone and whitewashed over, but the balcony seats are all still there, and there were arches and all still there and intact. It was remarkable. When I stepped back out onto 23rd avenue and saw the reality of life, it sure was fun to be transported back in time when I was in there. It was tired inside, but what a wonderful time to step back inside there