Grand Lake Theatre

3200 Grand Avenue,
Oakland, CA 94610

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Showing 51 - 75 of 76 comments

PatrickTM on May 27, 2005 at 3:54 pm

Oakland Artist Miron Murcury ()) has created a wonderful CD Rom of the Grand Lake. It is an inside, outside and backstage tour that is just wonderful. Miron has worked on the Grand Lake as a caregiver and painter. He really knows the Grand Lake well.

Eric on March 15, 2005 at 9:51 pm

I love the political messages on the marquee! I get a chuckle every time I pass by. You know you are definitely not in a Republican area…

pipsorcle on March 15, 2005 at 9:03 pm

For those of you who think Grand Lake Theatre should stop its political statements, get a grip on reality. I applaud Grand Lake for being patriotic. If you don’t like it, then don’t go to the theatre.

Plus Bush DESPERATELY needs to be out of office. He’s putting this country in the worst financial shape in history.

GaryParks on February 26, 2005 at 1:28 pm

I don’t know how often the sign lights up these days, but I remember when I lived in Oakland 1984-‘86 (and attended the Grand Lake fairly often) the only nights the sign was lit were Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays. The rest of the week, only the marquee was lit, and on rainy nights, only the reader boards and GRAND LAKE letters were lit. In a perfect world, all signage would be lit every night, all night, but the fact is, maintaining all that wonderful glamour is very expensive.

Eric on February 26, 2005 at 10:46 am

I agree with the above comments about the roof top sign rarely being lit. I just moved to Oakland, and the first few nights passing by the Grand Lake with the sign lit up was truly magical and amazing! I have only seen it lit once since then! What’s up with that? The owners have no idea how much more business they’d get if they operated the sign nightly. It truely makes the place magical and special. Without it lit, the place looks dead and closed. What a shame…

William on February 10, 2005 at 5:28 pm

This theatre was once operated by National General Theatres and later by Mann Theatres. Before being sold to the current owners.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on February 10, 2005 at 5:10 pm

The Grand Lake Theater opened on 6th March 1926.

Broan on November 20, 2004 at 1:14 pm

View link Here’s a shot of the marquee with one of the political messages

blackeye on August 30, 2004 at 11:34 am

Grand Lake is a nice theater but I understand that employees are treated horribly……..You pay 7 dollars to these hard working people and you expect them to fear you….that is distrubing and sickening….get your act together Allen and have a heart….you put up marquees about Bush not treating America fairly…why don’t you treat you employees with a little bit of integrity. Your a rich many allen, but that doesn’t mean you have to be filthy and rich

DKelley on May 30, 2004 at 2:38 am

P.S.-the charm of the rooftop sign is diminished as you are too cheap to ever turn the d*mn thing on.

DKelley on May 30, 2004 at 2:37 am

Hey Michaan,

Why dont you spend some money on your arthouse theatre, the Park? You’ve got a wealthy populus there that would poney up full prices to see the art films you play there. But you’re obsessed with your antique show and your political messages.

I always thought the idea of going to the movies was to be able to for a short time be taken out of the real world. But to walk up and pay modern full prices for the shows and have to listen to your political commentary is sickening. Why don’t you replace the carpets in the lobby? As I recall, they haven’t been touched since Roger Rabbit opened, what was that, 1988? I am very glad that you keep classic houses opened up, but why not spend a little bit on your theatre business and less on the antique shows? YOu’ve spent it all there, and a great theatre there, but you wont on the theatres you still operate. The Grand Lake hsan’t had new carpets in 15 years…nor seats…the Oaks in Berkeley doesn’t even have air conditioning (which you stole the lovely chandeliers from for alameda) and the park theatre you wont even paint. You charge almost $9 for your papark theatre covered in duct tape and cracked paint. You also make enemies with Sony and Paramount so you don’t or can’t play 2 major studios films. Your projection is first rate, good people running your theatres, but why not spend half the time fixing up your places. You ever think that the payroll you’ve spent placing your political messages probably collectively has been enough to paint the park theatre and recarpet the grand lake?

Sean Ryan
Sean Ryan on April 6, 2004 at 8:53 pm

I try not to get invloved, but NO it Should NOT!

stefoscope on March 1, 2004 at 5:39 pm

I remember seeing “E.T.” here, back in 1982, as one of my earliest movie-going experiences…and what a memorable one it was. The line was around the block, and the theatre inside, crowded! For years, I would come here on weekends to see most of the Disney features. While some of the multiplexes in the area were ok, the Grand Lake was a special place. The mural along the stairwell, and the decorations in the main lobby areas are all ‘grand’. I’ve never been fond of the balcony being used as a second theatre. Having seen some films in the main theatre here recently, I thought the partitioning of the second floor looked particularly tacky. Hopefully that will be restored to its original state someday. The “Egyptian” and “Mayan” theaters on the sides are also very well done, but it’s the main theatre that has the nicest atmosphere, as only an authentic 1920s movie palace could have.
In the 80s, the matinees for the children’s movies used to begin with an amusing film, showing a boy and girl visiting the theatre and a narrator explaining proper audience manners. Is this still shown? It was very funny.

FrankieBoyCA on January 21, 2004 at 2:50 am

The Grand Lake is HANDS DOWN the best first-run theatre in the Bay Area. As an Oakland native, I’m really happy that the Grand Lake still shines every so gloriously as it’s beautiful marquee and rooftop sign. Every film is receives a top notch presentation, this theatre was also one of the first to implement digital sound when it first surfaced. It doesn’t bother me that the balcony was converted into a second auditorium, growing up I loved how it was the only theatre to have “stadium style” seating. Another bonus of the balcony conversion is that the screen is much closer and looks stunning- they did a really good job. The other two screens that they added on the side are also nice, cute with their own themes. But the experience of the main screen… WOW!

androozle on December 18, 2003 at 2:29 pm

I have lived in the area around the Grand Lake all of my life. I have seen more movies there than I can count. However, I will NEVER see another movie there again as long as they post obsurd political statements on their marquee. They have no business getting involved in politics like that. The marquee is supposed to be to display movies being shown, not to advance their leftist political agenda. Is “BRING THE TROOPS HOME NOW” really a movie? I didn’t thinks so. Grand Lake you’re just a movie theater, stop the political statements now!

bruceanthony on October 20, 2003 at 4:50 pm

The Grand Lake was one of two Roadshow houses in the East BAy during the 1960’s. I Saw Ben Hur, How The West Was Won, Dr. Zhivago, The SandPebbles, Magnificient Men in There Flying Machines, Camelot, Grand Prix during there reserved seat engagements. The theatre had a major renovation by National General During the engagement of The Sand Pebbles. When the exclusive Runs dissapreared the Grand Lake showed all ist Run Disney product in the 1970’s. The theatre was in excellent shape . I return to the Grand Lake and see many films over the years but I still miss the balcony. It is my favorite theatre in the Bay Area to see a film.

Wanda on February 19, 2003 at 10:34 pm

Thank you so much for the “Democratically Elected Presidents' Day” marquee, as well as many of the previous ones. To whom does the public owe a hearty thank you for speaking out in a way that pleases so many?

linsfo on January 26, 2003 at 8:11 pm

The mural in the lobby says it was from a bank building in “upstate New York”. Does anyone know which bank and in what city?

Also upstate New York is Syracuse to some people and Albany to others. That is why I want to know which upstate New York city it is from. I am from Syracuse.

GaryParks on December 20, 2002 at 1:49 pm

Architects of the Grand Lake were the Reid Bros. This was the largest theatre they designed, although several of their others came close. Also, there were many other theatres in the Bay Area which once had rooftop signs as the Grand Lake has. The only other surviving rooftop sign is on the Parkway, Oakland. Some others which once had them are the FAIRFAX, Oakland (blown down in a windstorm—Fairfax is now a church), IRVING, San Francisco (demolished), FOX PENINSULA, Burlingame (demolished). There were others as well.

GaryParks on December 20, 2002 at 1:44 pm

The plush curtain in the main auditorium is originally from the long-ago-lost San Francisco Fox. Actually what you see is about the central one-third and bottom two-thirds of it, the Grand Lake having a much smaller proscenium. The remaining parts of the Fox curtain were carefully de-stitched and now embellish the panels of acoustical fabric between the columns along the auditorium sidewalls.

JOSECRUZ on December 6, 2002 at 12:33 am


Donald John Long
Donald John Long on November 18, 2002 at 6:52 pm

This and the Paramount Theatre are the two grandest and most glorious cinema palaces in all of Oakland, and surrounding cities.

I’ll never forget going to see the premiere of “E.T.” here in 1982, when the manager, Allan Mischaun (excuse me if it’s misspelled!) was promoting Spielberg’s movie on John Stanley’s “Creature Features” TV show on KTVU Channel 2. I’ve since gone back whenever I’m in the Oakland area to enjoy its plush lobby, grand staircases up to the balcony, and overall cinema ambience, so much lacking in theaters today.

FloydPerryJr on December 10, 2001 at 7:27 pm

There used to be a time when you can see a movie on the Big main screen from the balcony but today that is another auditorium. I am not against adding more screens by building an adjacent auditorium but I am against altering any part of the main original auditorium.

HenryandJeremy on August 27, 2001 at 4:47 pm

The Grand Lake Theatre is a jewel!!! It never fails to delight me everytime I drive by it on my way home. Like the exterior facade, the interior is another beautiful sight to behold. Every that plays there is good simply because the experience is so rewarding.

sjshappee on August 4, 2001 at 3:07 am

The Grand Lake is still the best theatre in Oakland. On Saturday nights, in the big downstairs theatre, they still play the ‘Mighty Wurlitzer’ – it’s a great theatre!