Showing 7 comments
Restoring the Alameda Theatre is obviously a plus all the way around. What worries me is the huge multiplex that they want to attach to it. Not only does it overwhelm the old structure and the surrounding area, it may cause a traffic nightmare in Alameda’s lovely & charming “downtown”. However, from kbb’s comments above, it seems there is no happy medium…..so, I guess restoration + huge, unnecessary multi-plex is better than the current state of the theatre.
I’m glad to know they are restoring the theatre; but judging from the illustration on the front page of the Alameda Journal, I think the two-story building will overpower the area around it. A big multiplex seems so unnececssary, and ruins the small-town atmosphere of Alameda (like the many chain establishments that are now on Park Street).
I agree, the theatre at the old Alameda NAS should have done more advertising. I also wish they had showed some obscure films; most of the movies that I saw on their calendar I have already seen many times.
The Paramount in Oakland shows classic movies on occasion…..although I’m not sure how the last one, “You’ve Got Mail” would qualify as such.
I sure do miss the U.C. Theatre in Berkeley. The seats were uncomfortable& the floor was sticky, but they showed an amazing variety of movies, including silents, which are hard to find on a big screen these days.
In 1994, my band used the projection room as a rehearsal space. Although we hated hauling our equipment up those steep metal outside stairs, it was worth it just to be there. The interior was somewhat shabby, but still beautiful. When it is restored for use as a movie house again, I hope there won’t be lots of new screens added. I understand the financial reasons, but I still wish all lovely old theatres could be kept at the minimum amount of screens.
Wow, your dad was a projectionist there? That’s so cool! My father was taken to the El Rey in 1954 for rushing by a Cal fraternity. Tempest Storm performed, and he says she “did it with the curtain”. He didn’t end up joining the fraternity, but still remembers that night vividly (for obvious reasons). Recently, my aunt brought her “boyfriend” (who is in his 70’s) over to my house. He saw my poster for the Irving Klaw movie, Teaserama (starring Tempest Storm), & we got to talking about it. He played saxophone in various nightclubs & strip joints in the 1940’s-50’s, so he was quite familiar with all the local places. According to him, the El Rey, Moulin Rouge, etc. were where he got his “education.”
On page 84 of ‘Oakland’s Chinatown’ by William Wong (from Arcadia Publshing’s Images of America series), there is a 1958 photo of the block on 8th Street where the Moulin Rouge stood. Although the theatre is in the far right-hand corner of the photograph, one can get an idea of what it looked like, windmill sign & all.
In the late 1990’s the windmill sign was taken down by an antiques/junk/etc. dealer who then put it out for sale on his lot on 5th St. I went to take photos of it, & asked about buying it. He wanted a 4 or 5 figure amount, way out of my budget. Sadly, all I came away with that day were some pictures. As far as I know, he was unable to sell it, & within a year or two, his business was closed. I am very curious to know what became of the windmill. The sign was not in working order, but definitely could have been restored to its former glory. I also have one picture of it when it was still on the front of the the theatre, which I took sometime in the mid-1980’s. If anyone would like to see these pictures, let me know & I will scan & e-mail them.