Showing 576 - 592 of 592 comments
The last time I saw the VARSITY in Palo Alto it was being converted into a book shop. The marquee was still in position and the auditorium had not been chopped up.
If you are interested in “courtyard” theaters, have a look at the current restoration of the FOX in Fullerton. That place will be magnificent when completed. Plaudits for Fullerton!
John – Thank you for the into-to-know… I’d be obliged if you are able to scan and e-mail it to me.
You’re so right about Joe… What a man!!!
One of the last times I visited the Alameda Theatre was when I served in the U.S. Naval Reserves, stationed at Alameda. Later on, I returned only to find it had been converted into a gymnasium with the balcony enclosed with ugly looking plastic drop sheets.
The stage had been completely removed however, the set of beautifully ornate curtains, which I photographed, were still hanging there but looking very sad indeed!
The facade of the Alameda was always so impressive; looking like a huge “lace doily.” Let’s hope she will be protected like her sister
ALAHAMBRA, another gymnasium across the S.F. bay on Polk Street.
I believe this theater was once owned by San Francisco’s Nasser family ie; ALHAMBRA, CASTRO, FILMORE, NEW MISSION, ROYAL and more?
Joseph Musil is my friend and next door neighbor and I’m terribly proud to be a small part of his magnificent museum. Of my more than half-century involvment in cinemas and theaters in England and the United states, I have never known anyone who equals the dedication, tallent and cunsummate attention to detail as Joe does with regard to his research, design, construction and display of model theaters.
Joe’s life-long love afair of the theater is equal to the famed designers of yester-year and JOSEPH MUSIL DESERVES A STAR ON HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD.
If you have not had the honor of buying a ticket (that’s how theaters stay open folks!!!) at the CREST, Westwood Village; ALEX, Glendale; FINE ARTS, Beverly Hills; EL CAPITAN, Hollywood (his #1 masterpiece!)plus many more theaters… then your'e missing the creme de creme.
Take a peep at www.josephmusil.com or at his 501-C-3 NON-PROFIT studio website (under re-construction) www.amtd.org or phone him at 714-667-6959 for a personal tour… it’s a whopping $3 that helps him pay the rent!
His 40-seater STRAND THEATRE stage has 10 (yes ten!) sets of fabulous curtains to drule over during the much requested “Symphonic Cavalcade of Curtains” show -all timed to theater pipe organ music and multiple lighting changes!
The four busses of visitors at the 2005 THS Conclave visit to southern California were stunned in awe -many with tears of joy at his long awaited presentation!
My wife were on Coronado to visit our Navy son and saw the Village Theatre sitting there looking very lonely, sad and closed.
Its interesting facade is terribly shabby and needs some “TLC."
The adjacent cleaners owner told me that the Village Theatre has been closed for some months and the owners are quite elderly and want to sell the place.
WHAT’S HAPPENING OUT THERE? … We (
I’m told that there is a huge place somewhere in Nevada that houses hundreds and hundreds of old theater and restaurant Neon type signs.
Congratulations and good luck with your dream!
I am only in the begining stages of what you have done because I’d love to do this to one of the several vacant theaters in the Hollywood/Los Angeles area. Many still survive, I’ve got the stamina to get it done but, regretfully, without contacts and major funding. Dreams DO come true!!!
Over the past six decades I’ve gushed enough tears to float the liner Queen Mary… and I love to have a good cry in a movie palace!
The music, especially quivering violins, turn on my water works: GONE WITH THE WIND’s “As God is my witness…” along with dear Max Steiner’s crashing fanfare statement of music… Bogy’s “Here’s looking at you kid” has to be just about tops … The consummate Clifton Web aboard the sinking TITANIC giving an Oscar performance goodbye to Barbara Stanwyck… Such a tender farewell scene in BRIEF ENCOUNTER … Captain Rex Harrison saying “Come Lucia” to Gene Tierny as they pass through the door into the eternal swirling fog in THE GHOST AND MRS. MUIR … My boyhood pinup Ava Gardner who blew the most delicate dockside kiss as SHOWBOAT sailed into the lovely Mississippi sunset.
And the third LORD OF THE RINGS finale flushed my pupils for ten minutes! Disney’s “FANTASIA” finale, with the long procession of angels entering the cathedral and the glorious choir performing “Ave Maria” … but the grand-daddy of all has to be of Gloria Swanson decending that awesome staircase for her final closeup in SUNSET BOULEVARD.
O.K. Projection… the curtains, quickly! I feel another gullywasher coming on!!!
While waiting for agaes for Greyhound bus connects back to San Francisco, my wife and I came across the magnificent Crest by sheer and wonderful surprise. We peered through the lobby doors and were smiled at by “Syd” a lady who opened up and gave us the “royal tour.” It was a most memorable visit and we’re so pleased to see the Crest is alive and well!
As a new “cast member” of the El Capitan, I’m truly proud to work in a real movie palace and enjoy the hubub of guests excitedly listening to a magnificent pipe organ and oohing and ahhing as the grand curtain rises for a live stage show and movie.
My Santa Ana next door neighbor and dear friend is JOSEPH MUSIL, who was one of the instrumental key figures behind the El Capitan’s horrific restoration (also the CREST and FINE ARTS) of which is on display at his American Museum of Theatrical Design, downtown.
One of the best seats is DD107 in the balcony which has a brass plaque which aptly reads: “Joe, your dream came true."
What a tallented man… What an awesome theater… Long may they reign as giants in the world of showbusiness!
While trying to locate the massive FORUM THEATRE on Pico Blvd I came across the Del Mar Theatre with pleasant surprise.
My wife and I are looking for a small single screen house to re-open (not to far from Hollywood).
We plan to screen British (theme) movies, and maybe some small live presentations, but need various assistance in funding to restore something like the Del Mar Theatre. We have a non-profit 501c3 license, managerial operation and experience as well as professional assistance in art-deco, etc.
To those of you interested in our project, please contact Simon and Kathleen at
Yes, that is a good idea, will check it out. My friend and theater designer www.josephmusil.com is responsible for the present appearance of the Fine Arts Theatre. He also created Hollywood’s El Capitan, Westwood Village Crest and a lot more theaters. Thanks.
Hey “ghamilton”: I suggest if you want to see “other” theater pictures then you should NOT log onto the AVALON’s site. I am proud to have worked at the AVALON (2001-2003) as 65 year-old popcorn popping assistant, changed the marquee lettering, replaced burned-out light bulbs, cleaned the auditorium and helped with projection occasionally. I hope this site is flooded with past pictures and memories from patrons!
Hello and thanks for your comments. I’m told that the Hollywood nightclub scene is almost on overload… like the saturation point with just about two Starbucks on every block… and yes, I’m sure they’ll die… after ruining the decor of the Vogue and Fox and the teenyboppers move on to another black box! But I’m NOT giving up!
Hello Griff. I, too, am in the same position as you. Where are you located? I’m in Orange County, southern California, and am looking for a place to re-open with (preferably) British films, especially in nthe catagories of “second run, art, independant etc. My e-mail is
Are you still searching for a place to re-open? The PORT THEATRE in Coasta Mesa (southern California) is available. I am also interested in managing a movie house in the greater Los Angeles/Orange County area. Please contact me if you have questions. Thank you.
Back in 2001, when I was associated with the MURRAY THEATRE in Salt Lake City, it was a church where I was on the show production side of things. I helped restore the marquee and we had the same type of lettering. There is about 150 plus letters AND numbers upstairs in the projection room… but sadly, that lovely theater is “dark”.
Just read today (9-19-06) of another insane act to destroy the METRO… such a beautiful and historical theater (recently restored at great cost and love) all for another stupid apartment building.
Mayor Gavin Nusome MUST step in to stop San Francisco’s fabulous history from destruction. Future generations wont even know what a movie palace was like! My thanks to Mr. Lee (4-STAR) for saving the CINEMA-21 ex-MARINA and the PRESIDEO theaters.
I’m very proud of the gay community for their love and support of the CASTRO. The only thing fairly close to the Castro’s operation is HOLLYWOOD’S magnificent EL CAPITAN -and they have the awsome WURLITZER from San Francsco’s FOX THEATRE. Need I say more?, another travisty!