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@ Mike Rogers: what’s the challenge in that?
By the way, I love the photo on this page. I was there for the opening as part of the staff.
Sorry, the date you have for the Ken’s inception is wrong. It may have been conflated with the construction date for San Diego’s Hillcrest Theater (later the Guild).
One of the comments in the above link states that a resident “who has lived in Kensington since 1945, says he remembers only a vacant lot on the west half of the 4000-block of south side of Adams Avenue until the theater opened in 1947.”
Other local histories also support a 1947 opening, as does information passed to me by people who worked with the Ken’s Bob Berkum before his retirement in the early 1980s.
“The Rocky Horror Picture Show” showed at the Guild for a number of years up until 1984, when it switched over to the Ken, where it ran for many years before switching to the Guild some time in the ‘90s. The last movie shown at the Guild was “Female Perversions,” which despite its title was not a throwback to the theater’s adult days, but a fairly good movie starring Tilda Swinton. (I attended the final showing.) The Guild closed the same night as Landmark’s Park Theater (http://cinematreasures.org/theaters/1563).
The “hut” is in fact on top of the building next to the Guild, not on top of either the old or new building.
I believe the original intent was to preserve the facade of the building, but it was determined to be unstable and not up to code. The current facade is a replacement.
The Academy was operated for years by the Art Theater Guild, from some point in the ‘60s up until it shut down in the early 1990s. I’m fairly certain it was never affiliated with MGM (in the sense of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, anyway).
The “MGM Amphitheater” name was used briefly by some party unaffiliated with MGM (who clearly had no idea what an amphitheater is, either), in an apparent attempt to give the old Academy one last shot at being a performance venue before it became a church. About a year ago I passed by on my bike and took a look inside; the auditorium was cleaned up and repainted, with new seats (I hope), and was a Hispanic church at the time. Now it is a church with the name “Ebenezer” painted on the front of the building.