Golden Gate Theatre

5176 Whittier Boulevard,
East Los Angeles, CA 90022

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Showing 101 - 125 of 165 comments

Rajiv124 on March 25, 2005 at 6:47 pm


DaveG on February 22, 2005 at 3:22 pm

Dear Rich Wojcik,

Yes, I remember Pete Richey. I think he lived on Fernfield or Gleason in Monterey Park. Sorry to hear about what happened to him though. He was dealing drugs in the late ‘60’s, so I am not surprised about what happened. There but for the grace of God… .

Did you know a guy named Mike Velasco? He lived on Fernfield, near Wilcox. He lives up here near Seattle and he graduated from MHS in ‘67 I think.

Yeah, the Garmar and Golden Gate were great theaters, especially the Golden Gate. They just aren’t built like that anymore.

BRYCOR on February 20, 2005 at 11:00 pm

How excited I am to see how many wonderful people share the same memories and dreams I have from that magical palace called the Golden Gate theater, I was born in Brooklyn New York in 1958 my parents moved out to California in 1964 my sister Yvette, and I were raised in East Los Angeles we lived at 749 South Sadler, it was a property that had 3 small homes and a garage/appartment in back owned by my grand parents. When I was a kid the fist movie my parents took me to see at the Golden Gate was Gold finger and every 007 movie after that. I moved back to New York in 1982 but the most memorable movie that I saw in that magical palace was the re-released THE TEN COMMANDMENTS, even though I saw many movies there, the reason this movie was so perfect was because of the theater’s interior, plush red velvet curtains and seats, and it’s Roman like columns if I remember correctly.

My name is Bryant Cordova I went to Schurr High School from 1974-1977 I now reside in Florida, am 45yrs old now but in reading all the above testimonies, and even though I was not raised in LA until the mid-60’s I somehow feel close to all of you even though you all don’t know me but we share almost the same memories. Here is a funny memory that I personally have of the Golden Gate, my Grandfather always took me all over New York by subway, and I remember when we moved to ELA one day my grandfather and I walk from Sadler to the Golden Gate and I saw the corner of the plaza across the street and it reminded me of the subway entrance in Brooklyn and I yelled out saying LETS GO ON THE SUBWAY TO DOWNTOWN!! and that was the day I learned that LA had no subways, (well at least not then) well needless to say I cried, but East LA and it’s great people embraced my family and I, we made many friends there I remember growing up with Johnny Krantz Jr. Joe Cruse, Ronny Martinez, Dean Cooper, Danny Sardinia, and many others up the street.

Yes I still think about the old magical movie palace called the GOLDEN GATE, how I wish the old theater could come back. I believe the generation of today can take all their modern technology of today and pour it into a movie house like the GOLDEN GATE and with it’s big screen, and they would experience an AWESOME move night just like we all did the first time we walked through it’s doors.

johnf on January 3, 2005 at 8:42 pm

David Grisanti,

I am very sad to learn that your sister died in 1990. Even though I didn’t know her well I do remember her at Montebello. And because over the years while occasionally browsing through my “archive” I would run into her Derrick Diary article and her picture, she has always been in some way a part of my life. So I am sad at your loss and, in my own way, my loss.

If you can’t find the article I have, I’ll be happy to email you an attachment of it if you give me your email address. Mine is

How funny about Anthony Loya Studio!
John Ferry

DaveG on January 3, 2005 at 1:25 pm

I think I know where Luis Place is. When I was a kid, we would go either there or a street near there to buy illegal firecrackers from a woman whose living room was full of boxes of them! Funny you should mention Anthony Loya Studios. Juas last week I was visiting my mother in Palm Springs, along with my wife, daughters and their husbands. My mother gave each of my daughters a protrait of me and my sister taken at Anthony Loya’s in around 1954!

Yes, Yvonne is my sister. She graduated from Montebello in 1966 and wrote for the Derrick Diary. She died tragically in 1990 and we miss her terribly. I really appreciate your words about her. In her adult years she was a magazine editor and a writer. I still have some copies of the Derrick Diary with her articles. I’ll have to dig them up and see if I have the one with your review!

David Grisanti

castanedapi on December 30, 2004 at 3:01 am

I understand that the Bonito Theatre was on Ford Blvd & Brooklyn Ave (presently Cesar Chavez Ave)I believe the old theatre building still stands on the east side of Ford Blvd. I saw “High Hopes”, with Frank Sinatra, at the Unique Theatre (area of First & Rowen) in the early 1960’s. I understand that the First Street Store, was intially half it’s present size, (if it’s still standing) the area of the men’s/boy’s department was a former E.L.A., Belvedere theatre. Does anyone know the name of that theatre?

The Wabash Theatre was another Boyle Heights area theatre located at Wabash & Evergreen, close to Manuel’s Tepeyac Mexican Restaraunt (known for their famous king sized burritos). Other Boyle Heights theatres included the Brooklyn Theatre located at 2524 Brooklyn Ave, in the area of N. Fickett. The National Theatre was located at 2229 Brooklyn Ave. The Joy Theatre was formally located at 2014 E. First Street.

For more information about the area of Boyle Heights, Brooklyn & Soto contact the Southern California Jewish Historical Society to purchase a video called, Meet Me at Brooklyn & Soto. This is an incredible historical video about the history of early East Los Angeles and the contributions by the Jewish community to our California history.

Max Factor was formerly a barber in Boyle Heights before he became a make up artist for the Hollywood stars. Golds Gym was started by a family that owned a wrecking yard on Ford Blvd, many years ago. During World War 2, the Jewish community purchased two B-17’s, one was named the Spirit of City Terrace, and the other, The Spirit of Boyle Heights, both were purchased by the community towards the war effort. My grandfather was a driver for the Chicago Meat Packing Company that delivered Kosher meats to the famous deli’s such as Kanter’s in the area of Brooklyn & Soto and hotels in the greater Los Angeles area.

Thanks for the memories. Born in East L.A.

MagicLantern on December 29, 2004 at 3:20 am

Theatres in East Los Angeles you may have known and / or loved:

Alameda Theatre / United Artists Theatre
Bonito Theatre
Boulevard Theatre / New Boulevard
Brooklyn Theatre
The Center Theatre
Crystal Theatre
Garden Theatre
Jewel Theatre
Joy Theatre
Keystone Theatre
Meralta Theatre
Monterey Theatre
National Theatre
Royale Theatre
Swickard’s Strand Theatre / The Strand Theatre
Unique Theatre
Vern Theatre
Victoria Theatre

castanedapi on December 29, 2004 at 3:02 am

Mr. Davila, I glad to know that I wasn’t the only E.L.A. cardboard, dirt rider. I did the exact same thing in the area of Sunol Drive and 3rd St. I along with family and friends would hang out in all the vacant, condemned houses and explore all the time.

There must have been so many families that were forced to sell their homes to make way for “progress”, called the Pomona Fwy. I’m sure we drove the construction companies crazy when we would move or take the long wooden stakes that the surveyors had placed for the freeway. These wooden stakes made great swords for battle. In the area of 3rd & Humphrey’s Ave we would have serious rock fights with other kids for hours.

This must have been my effort to oppose the distruction of our community to make way for “progress”. It’s funny how the Long Beach Fwy never went beyond Valley Blvd in the north. Then again, the predominiately white communties of Alhambra, South Pasadena would not have allowed that to happen. Sadly, the Whittier Blvd area went into a rapid decline shortly after the East Los Angeles Demonsrations/riots in the late 60’s, 70’s. The large white population in the area left for safer ground towards further east and or Orange County; sociologists use the term, “white flight”

I don’t like the changes that have occurred in the past 30-40 years, but no one can take away all the good memories I have of growing up in East Los Angeles. Just think of all the families who can share the East L.A. experiance.

Thanks for the memories, Happy New Year to all you good people.

johnf on December 27, 2004 at 7:33 pm

David Grissanti, are you related to Yvonne Grisanti (is she your sister?)? I graduated from Montebello in ‘66. I didn’t know Yvonne well but she wrote for the Derrick Diary and I was in the drama department; she gave me a “glowing” review for the yearly Drama Night. It meant a lot to me at the time. In fact I still have the clipping, which includes her picture.
If you are related, I hope she’s well.
My entry regarding the Golden Gate Theater is up above and starts with “In 1960-61 I lived on Luis Place…"
Luis Place, by the way, was close to where you lived. It was a small street one block up from Whitier Blvd. and behind the Anthony Loya Studio.
John Ferry

DaveG on December 27, 2004 at 9:41 am


Wow, small world. What’s your full name? Male or female? I’m trying to remember you. I still have my 1968 yearbook. Give my gegards to Randy Donaldson, I’d like to reconnect with him. Also, say hi to Kauffman, I saw him at the 30-year reunion. Yeah, being in band was fun, and I thought Mr. Ulrich was a good guy. In fact, the current and long-time band director at Montebello is a guy from my class, Larry Covellone. When he and I were 16, we saw the Beatles at Dodger Stadium!!

JDuran on December 24, 2004 at 1:42 am

Dave, I remember you. I was a sophomore in the band when you were a senior with Robert Ulrich as the band teacher and also knew about Randy Donaldson a friend of mine who I currently see at the casinos, David Kauffman and Sandy Rubay! You probably did not know who I was at the time but us new kids knew all about the seniors.

MrDavila on December 22, 2004 at 5:40 pm

The other day I drove down to Whittier Blvd, after many years away, and I could hardly recognize the place I once knew. So, I decided to park my car off a side street to stroll around and take a closer look. I walked along Whittier Blvd the same very same path I took while growing up in East L.A. To my horror, instead of being sentimental about being in my old stomping grounds I was in culture shock. I have to admit I felt like I was somewhere in a third world country. The place seemed so foreign to me. I have visited the Tijuana main shopping district on a few occasions and Whittier Blvd today mirrors it. It is evident that the new generation of immigrants have transformed every aspect of the area to reflect the environment of their origins. District politicians and area Supervisors have turned a blind eye or encouraged Whittier Blvd social and physical decline instead of fighting for it’s preservation apparently to appease its new residents. It is sad because gone are the distinct American cultural icons I remember growing up i.e. those lunch counters and hot dog/hamburger stands, coffeshops, the five & dime stores, department stores, drug stores, professional businesses, and the handsome shows like the Grand Golden Gate Theatre that once called this famous boulevard home. On the day of my visit, these places were almost unrecognizable remnants that were either condemned, in bad decay or hidden behind overdeveloped storefronts that all seemed alike to me. The many shops along the Boulevard were overdeveloped tightly packed one next to the other. The storefronts were cloned storage unit designs with a roll top security grate front entryway. It was hard to tell where the doorway was. It was just an open space between the sidewalk and the inside to the store. I noticed, also, that many of the shops were Spanish named. Any effort that was made, by some shopkeepers, to write in English were marred with mistakes and miswording. It really didn’t matter though becuase much of the advertising was done in Spanish. I was trying to find at least one store I could recognize, from my youth, with its traditional frontdoors and wide glass panels featuring mannequins adorned with the latest fashions or merchandise neatly displayed behind the windows inviting customers in. Sadly, I could find none. The merchandise, from many of the stores on the boulevard, were laid out like fruit in a farmer’s market and being sold like at a auction. I noticed so many pushy employees out front trying to hustle their wares in Spanish. It made me feel very uncomfortable. The times sure have changed. Long gone are the days of service with respect and a smile. Back then, any employee rude to customers would be immediately reprimanded or worse fired. It seemed like those pushy employees were more concerned about a quick sale rather than offering good decent customer service. I decided I had and seen enough so I went back to my car and I drove west on the Boulevard toward the Long Beach Freeway. Off to my side, my eyes caught these skinny solitary steel beam towers that were grey in color placed on every other corner which I hadn’t noticed while I was walking. I guess everything seemed to overwhelm me while I was on foot so they were obscured and the fact that they were grey blended into with the color of the sidewalk. Finally, before I reached Ford Boulevard was this huge hideous drab grey steel half soccer ball netted arch structure over Whittier Blvd. If this was a monument of some kind it really looked out of place but so did everything else on this boulevard including those grey skinny steel beams and row upon row of delapidated plain storefronts. Funny thing though the only thing that seemed to match was the color grey. Everything seemed grey and drab. The street I once loved as a kid is only a cherished memory now. The Whittier Blvd of yesterday is a thing of the past yet so much of East LA is too. The K-Mart Shopping Center is overdeveloped too and almost entirely unrecognizable of its former self. Gone too is the classic Army recruiting station near Goodrich & Whittier, as is the Goodrich Tire Company and most of the three great moviehouses on Whittier Blvd. Unfortunately, even streetnames are fair game without regard to preservation. In my personal view, the renaming of Brooklyn Ave was a mistake. The street name was a classic one and familiar to generations of residents. They could have honored Cesar Chavez by renaming Belvedere Third St. Civic Center after him instead of forever erasing Brooklyn Ave from the map. Anyways, Nothing fits like it used to on the day of my visit to Whittier Blvd. It was like scattered puzzle pieces trying to figure out what went where. It is a pity. I truly do not understand why the classic American landscape that was once Whittier Blvd. was not preserved and shared alongside shops that reflect the culture of foreign lands

DaveG on December 22, 2004 at 3:48 pm

Born, and JDuran,

I graduated Montebello class of ‘68, and yes, I do remember the “head shop” on Atlantic! I also vividly remember the bowling alleys mentioned, the one on Whittier and the one near Pomona. There was also an “Utter-McKinley” morturary kind of where Atlantic and Beverly intersected, near the car wash. For years we lived a couple of blocks away from Atlantic and Olympic, then later moved to Monterey Park, a few blocks away from Atlantic Square. Back then those neighborhoods seemed so far away from each other, but they really are relatively close. I remember when they were constructing the Pomona Freeway, my buddies and I would get big pieces of
cardboard and “surf” down the mounds of dirt.

But as for theaters, between the Golden Gate and the Garmar in Montebello, I don’t recall any others in that area.

castanedapi on December 21, 2004 at 1:32 am

That’s amazing! Do you remember the day (not so long ago)) when no man or women would be seen having there haircut along side one another. Boy how times have changed for the better. Isn’t it great to have your hair cut at a super cuts type place with no one male/female territorial issues taking place. In the early 1970’s I had a women take strong offense to me holding the door open for her. Oh well, just got to roll with the changes.

gorf on December 20, 2004 at 10:43 pm

its the son now

castanedapi on December 20, 2004 at 2:41 am


Is this the same barber from around 1964-1965?

gorf on December 20, 2004 at 1:04 am


gorf on December 20, 2004 at 1:01 am

well paul you were right,the bowling alley next to the builders emporiom was called [lucky lanes]yup we use to go bowlling there all of our history is mostly gone now, so we as people neen to stand up to protest and save our history,,,,like our GOLDEN GATE,,, MERRY CHRISTMAS……GORF…….

castanedapi on December 19, 2004 at 10:10 pm

Greeting good people,

I seem to recall W.T. Grant’s being directly across the street from the Center Theatre. I should remember, since my mom worked there in the early 1960’s. My mom worked the morning shift and worked the food counter. She would make coffee for all the local store owners and employees who would need there coffee in the morning.

Does anyone recall the See’s Candy store next to W.T. Grants. I use to buy my dress shoes at Flag Brothers, next to W.T. Grants. Funny, I can’t seem to remember where I bought my first pair of “Beatle boots”; I certain it wasn’t at Buster Browns (smile!!!). Al’s Army & Navy, always seemed to have the best bargains on Levis and work clothes.

What was the name of the barber shop on Kern Ave, just south of Whittier Blvd on the west side of the street? The barber was Chicano who always played jazz music for his customers.

Speaking of the area of Atlantic Blvd & Pomona Blvd, does anyone remember the first E.L.A. “head shop” on Atantic right next to the Pomona Fwy? There used to be a Builders Emporium Store, just east of the bowling alley, close to the East L.A. Sheriffs Dept. What the heck ever happened to the Foster Freeze on Beverly Blvd close to Atlantic.

We used to buy our milk and eggs from the Reliance(?) Diary on Atlantic Blvd next to Beverly Blvd. It was one of those ever so popular drive-thru places.

Shopping at Atlantic Square was considered to be upscale from the Blvd. J.C. Pennys had the best high neck tee-shirts in the planet in the 1960’s!

Merry Christmas!

Born in East L.A.

solodogg on December 18, 2004 at 3:40 pm

slight correction to above reference, it was either The Kress or Grant’s Department store The Center Theatre faced. This boggles the mind. It all seems so long ago.

solodogg on December 18, 2004 at 3:16 pm

If I recall, The Center was located across the street facing The Kress Department store. It was located between Kern Ave. and Fetterly Ave. Remnants of the old place are hardly visible today. Last time I visited the site there was an optometrist office on the right side of where The Center Theatre entrance used to be.

JDuran on December 17, 2004 at 10:16 pm

Born, I remember the Vic Tanny’s and Stan’s. I graduated from Montebello High 1970. Paul, I remember the bowling alley on Pomona and Atlantic but I thought it was called Triangle Bowl. Not really sure. There was also a car wash, Gardunos and I think a National Lumber store there near the bowling alley and Kaiser clinic.

MagicLantern on December 17, 2004 at 5:35 pm

The Center Theatre was located at either 4760 or 4762 Whittier Boulevard in East Los Angeles.

ppops70s on December 17, 2004 at 5:15 pm

Sorry, I was born in 1970.

Does anyone remember “Lucky Lanes” on Atlantic and Pomona Blvd? Caddy-corner from Pep Boys(still there today)?


castanedapi on December 17, 2004 at 3:55 pm

The Center Theatre was located between Ford Blvd and Duncan Ave’s. How about the other questions I asked you?