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Metropolitan’s Plaza del Oro Twin opened on December 22, 1978, according to an item in the January 8, 1979, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The new house had 300 seats in each auditorium, and the Spanish-style building was designed by Santa Barbara architect Don Sharpe. Oddly, the magazine describes the lobby decor as following a “…Gay Nineties theme.” An unusual feature of the theater was having the lobby situated between the auditoriums, to eliminate the bleed-through of sound so common in multi-screen theaters.
Metropolitan actually opened four new screens in the Santa Barbara area that December, as the circuit’s newly-twinned Fairview and Cinema Theatres in Goleta re-opened that month.
The Airport Drive-In at Goleta would be “…completed and ready for an opening any day now,” according to an item in the April 7, 1951, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.
The April 11, 1966, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that Harold Goldman and Robert Lippert planned to have their new Tiffany Theatre operating by late May of that year. The first movie theater on the Sunset Strip, the new art house had 400 seats, arranged in the continental style. The interior of the theater was designed by Ben Mayer, and the new facade and marquee were designed by Heath & Company. The building itself dates from 1935, and had already undergone extensive alterations in 1955.
The December 7, 1964, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the 740-seat Cinema was being built for Metropolitan Theatres. The architect was Carl Moeller. The new house was to be managed by George D. McKenzie Jr., who would also continue to manage Metropolitan’s adjacent Airport Drive-In. The single-screen house was equipped to show 35mm and 70mm movies.
The April 5, 1965, issue of Boxoffice said that the opening of the Cinema had been set for April 6.
As I said in my comment just above, Thorpe Associates were the architects for the 2006 expansion and remodeling of the Fairview.
Now I’ve found an item in the January 10, 1966, issue of Boxoffice Magazine which reveals that the original architect of the Fairview was Robert Kleigman. Construction was set to begin in March, 1966, with an opening target of mid-June. The eighth Santa Barbara County theater operated by Metropolitan Theatres, the Fairview opened as a single-screener with 750 seats, and was equipped to show 35mm and 70mm films on its 72-foot screen.
I don’t know yet if Kleigman designed any other theaters, but he was the architect of Metropolitan Theatres Corporation’s headquarters building in Los Angeles, completed in April, 1966.
From the July 31, 1937 issue of Boxoffice Magazine: “A thirty-day shutdown has been ordered for the Washington Theatre, Pasadena. Crown City Theatres, operating the house, has planned a $20,000 improvement budget, which will include a new floor, marquee, seats, and other items.”
That was a considerable sum for 1937.
From Boxoffice Magazine, December 10, 1949: “LITTLETON, N.H.— A building to house a 900 seat theatre… will be constructed to replace the one containing the Premier Theatre which burned here, according to Jack Eames…. Plans for the new building now are being drawn by W. Chester Browne Associates, Boston architects.”
Unless the original theater at this location was demolished to make way for the 8-plex, it opened as the single-screen Britton Theatre in 1956. Boxoffice Magazine’s issue of September 10, 1955, carried an item about the planned theater, which was designed by architect James E. Casale. At that time, it was intended to have a seating capacity of 1,800. I haven’t been able to find any items about the actual opening, so I don’t know if it was built to that size or not.
The original Britton was apparently triplexed by the early 1970s. The various photos of the Cinema 8 at Cinema Tour, as well as the satellite view from Google Maps, lead me to suspect that the original theatre is still there as the nucleus of the 8-plex.
Thanks for the clarification, Steve.
The August 13, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine announced that the Dickinson Circuit would take over the Show Theatre on September 1. It also said that the Show had originally opened in September, 1947. Dickinson intended to remodel the house and give it a new name. It was to be operated as a first-run theater. Seating capacity was given as 876.
Before the 1949 remodeling, the Fayette had been called the Paramount. The new owner, Edwin P. Brown, was also the operator of the Soisson Theatre. This information is from an item in the August 13, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.
The August 13, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that the new Lund Theatre in Carmichaels had opened on August 5th. The new theater was adjacent to the previous Lund Theatre, which was to be closed and converted to a storeroom. The new building was 60'x140' and had a 28'x30' stage. The seating capacity of the new house was given as 800. The proprietors were named as John Lund and his son, Werner “Fuzzy” Lund.
When this theater opened, Boxoffice Magazine’s headline writer apparently conflated the location of the theater with the town its owners lived in. Under the headline “Opens Redwood City Paris” in their August 21, 1961, issue is a brief item saying that Jean Renoir’s “Picnic On the Grass” had been the opening attraction at the new “…Paris Theatre and espresso house….” The owners were named as Mr. and Mrs. Harold Snyder, of Redwood City.
Thanks, Larry. I’ll put the information about the opening on the Paris page.
Richard D. King was apparently not the architect of the El Portal. A Southwest Builder & Contractor article from May 13, 1924, said that he was designing a theater and office building for Las Vegas, but that was four years before the El Portal opened. It’s pretty much certain that the architect of the El Portal was Charles Alexander MacNelledge, as the plaque on the building (seen on this page) says. I don’t know if King’s 1924 project was carried out or not, but if it was it has to be some other theater.
An extensive remodeling of the El Portal in 1961, including enlarging the lobby, some alterations to the auditorium, the installation of a new marquee and vertical sign, and redecoration throughout, was handled by architect J. Maher Weller, according to an article in the August 21 issue of Boxoffice Magazine that year.
I’ve come across another Redwood City puzzler. Under the headline “Opens Redwood City Paris” in the August 21, 1961, issue of Boxoffice Magazine is a brief item saying that Jean Renoir’s “Picnic On the Grass” had been the opening attraction at the new “…Paris Theatre and espresso house….” No address is given, but the owners were named as Mr. and Mrs. Harold Snyder of Redwood City.
Anybody know anything about this theater? Boxoffice sometimes got details wrong, so the new theater might have actually been in a nearby town.
Looking at the 1932 photo again, I notice that there is equipment hanging from the roof sign, and the marquee attraction board is empty. I’d say it’s likely the theatre was not yet open when the photo was taken. The photo might date from early August.
Gerald: I think it probably says “Metropolitan” on the front of the marquee. Here are a couple of excerpts from an article in the September 1, 1932, issue of New England Film News: [quote]“August 25 at 10 o'clock a.m., marked the opening of "Jake” Conn’s new 4100 seat Metropolitan Theatre here….
“‘Jake’…stated that never in his opening of 16 theatres has he ever been accorded such a grand ovation as on the opening of the new Conn’s Metropolitan.”[/quote]
The article also noted that the Metropolitan would be operated as a subsequent-run house with “…admissions scaled to a 30-cent top at all times.”
Conn’s Metropolitan should probably be listed as an aka.
The Monica Theatre was built in 1940, according to the L.A. County Assessor’s office.
I’ve come across a couple of references that must be to this theater, in issues of Boxoffice Magazine dating from 1937. They mention the operator as A.L Woods or Ashley Woods, but cite him as the operator of the “Chino Theatre, Chino.” I wonder if Chino Theatre was an actual aka for the house before it became the Woods, or if Boxoffice was just careless about the name?
From Boxoffice Magazine, October 8, 1938: “Lou Berkoff, owner of the La Tosca Theatre here, will start construction immediately on a new 600-seat house at Pico Blvd. and Manhattan Ave. Plans have been approved and Berkoff is awaiting a building permit.”
The Lewis and Clark Theatre was designed by the Seattle firm of John Graham & Associates, which also designed numerous major office buildings, hotels, and shopping malls in the northwest through the first two thirds of the twentieth century. Their most famous work is undoubtedly Seattle’s Space Needle. Decoration of the theater was done by the A.B. Heinsbergen Co. The orginal single screen auditorium had 2200 seats.
The mid-century modern facade of the Lewis and Clark Theatre was featured on the cover of the March 7, 1957, issue of Boxoffice Magazine. The October 19 issue of Boxoffice that same year published three additional photos of the theatre, including two of the lobby and one showing the free-standing sign and attraction board.
The lobby was 112 feet long, with a 24x48 foot TV and smoking lounge at one end. The lobby walls were mostly glass, and fronted a broad loggia with a boxoffice that featured glass walls tapering upward to the ceiling from counter height. The exterior corners of the original building were faced with rough native stone. All of this was drastically altered when the four additional auditoriums were added to the house.
CinemaTour has 40 photos of the Lewis and Clark, all dating from after the additions.
Architectural plans of the Meadowbrook Theatre are listed in the finding aid of the J. Evan Miller Collection of Cinerama Theater Plans at the University of California, Los Angeles.
The Meadowbrook, opened in 1949, was designed by New York City architect E.C.A. Bullock, a nephew of George and Cornelius Rapp who had worked in their Chicago firm for many years before establishing his own practice. The Syosset Theatre, a few miles from East Meadow, was another theater he designed.
The architect of the Syosset Theatre was E.C.A. Bullock, who also designed the Meadowbrook Theatre in East Meadow, NY., as well as the U.S. Theatre in Hoboken, New Jersey, and the Mars Theatre, Mars, Pennsylvania. Bullock was a nephew of George and Cornelius Rapp, and worked in their firm for many years following his graduation from the University of Illinois in 1910.
The Syosset Theatre was featured in a two-page spread in the January 5, 1957, issue of Boxoffice Magazine.
An item in the August 26, 1939, issue of Boxoffice Magazine probably referred to this theatre, though the item was datelined Bell, California (Bell Gardens did not incorporate until 1961, and in 1939 the magazine may have simply assumed it was part of the city of Bell.) It said that the new Towne Theatre was scheduled to open on August 30. The owners and builders of the Towne were named as Al Bowman and M. Kaplan. The house was to have 650 seats.