Criterion Theatre

1315 Third Street,
Santa Monica, CA 90401

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Criterion blade sign down the street, mid `50s. Photo courtesy of the AmeriCar The Beautiful FB page.

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Criterion Theatre was opened in early-1924.

Contributed by Ray Martinez

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

BradE41 on July 27, 2007 at 3:38 pm

Film going was more fun back in the 70’s than it is now. Usually I ended up seeing most films 2nd run “after the Westwood/Hollywood” debuts. Usually a double feature, and there were re-issues a year later. I cannot tell you how many times the Monica Twins had “Young Frankenstein”. I saw it at the Monica’s when it went 2nd run after the Avco, then again with re-issues at the same theatre. Films were not so over-hyped, and over-produced back then. Now it is too much overload and films are on DVD almost right out of the theatre. DVD is now what the 2nd run used to be.

William on July 27, 2007 at 3:50 pm

The Criterion played it during that time as a double feature, but the print they got was a very splicey one.

William on April 27, 2009 at 2:41 pm

The 1981 photo is when theatre was leased by Metropolitan Theatres along with the Cine on the Mall (aka: El Miro).

DonSolosan on December 18, 2009 at 10:30 pm

That linked photo that Lost Memory posted on Dec 22, 2006 is more “new” Criterion than “old” Criterion. Like the El Miro down the street, it was so modified that it earned a new page here.

nixols on December 10, 2012 at 11:04 am

12/7/12 Santa Monica Daily Press “…The property owner of the Criterion 6 received permission in November to convert the theater into general retail…”

Navan on April 6, 2013 at 5:24 pm

a crime to this historic theater is about to take place in the form of casual permission by a city that no longer cares about its past or citizens, for the owner to demolish and convert this into more expensive stores and unaffordable condos/apartments. If they did care, they would put a stop to this and declare it a landmark. Just another nail in the coffin of downtown Santa Monica.

DonSolosan on April 6, 2013 at 6:06 pm

Nixols and Navan, the Criterion Theatre was (mostly) demolished. The Criterion 6 which stands there now (and has its own page here, where this discussion is ongoing) is the historic facade of the old building on a brand new structure.

Also, where did you get the idea that they’re going to demolish this? The article only talks about converting the building…

ScottyA on June 3, 2014 at 6:18 pm

I loved this theater when I was a kid! What a grand auditorium! I spent every Saturday afternoon there, seeing Disney double features. In the early ‘70s, kiddie matinees were 75 cents a ticket! Which left 25 cents to buy candy across the mall, at Woolworths.

I made one end-of-the-road visit, in the late ‘80s. Whew! By then, it was a nasty grindhouse, with men sleeping. It was so beyond hope that they didn’t even have glass in the projection booth window anymore — so you could hear the equipment clanging away. Sad.

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