Alhambra Theatre

1101 Alhambra Boulevard,
Sacramento, CA 95818

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Matias Antonio Bombal
Matias Antonio Bombal on September 15, 2017 at 10:05 am

We ask for your memories, photos and ephemera, a tease of things to come in our documentary now in production, Alhambra: Sacramento’s Palace of Fantasy. PLEASE SHARE THIS VIDEO! Thanks. Contact us at:

AlhambraTheatre #documentary #MoviePalace #TheatreOrgan #SavetheAlhambra

JohnRice on September 14, 2017 at 10:34 am

I don’t believe D-150 was ever installed at the Alhambra although it possibly was planned to do so. United Artists Theatres did build a D-150 house in the Sacramento suburbs (Carmichael) named Cinema 150 (later Crestview Cinema), very similar if not identical to it’s identically named D-150 theatre in Santa Clara CA. That Carmichael theatre opened in September 1966. Norelco DP70 projectors were initially planned to be installed there but never were, so that house remained 35mm only until closing day.

The Alhambra did have 70mm (Norelco DP70) capability and showed a few films including “My Fair Lady” in that format, but all on it’s flat screen.

loafersman on March 22, 2017 at 10:20 pm

The last movie shown at the Alahambra Theatre before it closed on September 4, 1972 was a double feature (A Man for All Seasons and Nicholas and Alexandra).

Scroll down to the “Sacramento Trivia” section, Question 10.

Talisman on November 17, 2016 at 4:10 pm

Can anyone confirm what the last film showing at the Alhambra was? I saw Nicholas and Alexandra in late 1972. I believe I was there on the last night before they turned out the lights. Grand old place, for sure.

Darrellt on December 31, 2015 at 10:55 am

I saw Fantastic Voyage there as a kid. It was the “go to” event for birthday parties. I was very sad to see it torn down and to this day will never shop at a Safeway.

GaryMeyer on April 8, 2015 at 11:20 pm

I booked the theater in it’s last year and it was spectacular and if I remember correctly it did have D-150.

Jami_E on July 26, 2014 at 2:31 pm

I was only 2 when this was torn down but what a magnificent building! I have heard a lot of long time Sacramentians talk about the drama that surrounded destroying this theater and the movement of trying to save it. Why was such an old and historic building torn down for a grocery store?

CatherineGW on March 15, 2014 at 3:14 am

I was also a part of the protest movement. Most everyone in our group (The Magic Theatre) joined. It was a sad day when we lost.

Bud K
Bud K on September 27, 2013 at 12:05 am

for those that are curious about what the interior of the Alhambra Theater looked like I cannot post a pic because of copyright however here is a link to The Sacramento Public Library

spudwas on March 17, 2012 at 11:59 pm

I often wondered, for years, what happened to the “save the Alhambra” donation money that the people in Sacramento put into the fund back then to save it.The Alhambra obviously was not saved. So where or who got the money? There are pictures of the interior around. I saw one in the local PBS documentary “Sacramento:a nice place to live.” I will try to capture the picture and upload here.

Bud K
Bud K on June 23, 2011 at 11:16 pm

To Leonard and all the awesome folks who tried to save this theater Thank you, however 40 years later you wonder if the measure succeeded if the Theater would still be with us today, As much as I loved this place I don’t think so, The Problem with the Alhambra was simply it was built in the wrong place, it’s facilities was grand but not anything like the Paramount in Oakland or the Fox in San Francisco it was a neighborhood theater and a BIG one at that, Way Too Big, for those that knew this theater I think the Gardens outside were more beautiful than the inside, The Ceiling was not anything special and wasn’t the walls Stone? I do remember the Big Isle down the middle of it but again what do we remember about the interior. There is Not ONE picture of it anywhere on here or the Net.

To be very honest Sacramento really does not have any real Cinema Treasures, ok The Crest is nice but again it was a “Work Horse” theater in its day, The Tower, Century’s, State and Capitol Theaters were beautiful the day they open but we know there fate, split degraded and destroyed in the name of Progress, We now have the Megaplex’s, Imax behind what’s left of the Esquire and Like the National in LA, Good theaters torn down only to see the vacant and parking lots, (Cinema 1 and 2 and the Showcase) This Week we heard that the Woodland City Council is Saving the State BRAVO at least someone cares :)

bernie7768 on February 14, 2011 at 8:10 pm

I was one of the people who locked themselves in the Alhambra in the final days to try and save it. I was involved with the Save the Alhambra movement for about 6 months or longer, prior as well. I have historical information and even a few items I was able to get out with. I know that fountain was saved, but I am unsure where it is. I was also one of the people who set up and put on concerts and shows at the theatre to try and raise money to save it. If anyone is interested I can relay the information I had gathered back then. I was fortunate enough to be able to climb all through the theatre and marvel at its secrets.
Leonard Bernsdorf,

andreahaleva on April 10, 2010 at 5:29 pm

I grew up a few blocks from the Alhambra in the 50’s. Us girls would descend the staircase imagining we were royalty going to a ball. it was our giant playhouse!! I worked on the Save the Alhambra committee with John Roberts who later incorporated his memorabilia into his restaurant, Harlows. I have several paintings of it from William Tuthill and G. Reynoso. I am actively pursuing several leads for photographs of the interior. I saw Dorothy and the Wizard of Oz there when I was very young. I freaked out when the Witch disappeared except for her shoes and my grandmother took me outside into the garden to calm down. Does anyone know what the last movie shown there was?

William on February 22, 2010 at 5:22 pm

In a ad from Motion Picture Exhibitor for United Artists Theatres it said that this was a D-150 equipped theatre.

cjspontiac on April 24, 2009 at 1:16 am

When I was a little girl of kindergarten age, my mother wanted to show my father and a visiting ex-boyfriend that women could get jobs too. This was 1958. The next day my mother went out and got a job as a ticket taker at the Alhambra Theater. Her boss was dear Mr. Mears. I can remember many a Saturday when Mom would take my sister and I with her to work as Dad had to work too. The “musicals” became our babysitters. There was “South Pacific” and “GiGi” and many more musicals and movies that I watched hundreds of time. (Well, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but it was a lot). Between films, my sister and I would go outside to play “movie scenes” by the fountain and in the beautiful gardens in the front of the theater. I am saddened that this wondrous treasure has been destroyed, but it will always stay in my memories and I’m sure in many others.

jessriv on September 8, 2008 at 7:54 am

Can anyone tell me what was the name of the band measure which sealed the fate of the theatre in 1973?

sactodave on July 3, 2008 at 9:22 pm

Please can anyone tell me what year the “Alhambra Theatre Went Dark” (closed). I was an usher at the Alhambra 1966-1967, my first job out of high school. A great theatre, and it was a great experience to work there, great memories.

rawkawesome on February 23, 2008 at 6:38 pm

Recent photos taken (by me) at the site of the Alhambra:

Fountain (you can tell from the peeling paint at the base that it used to be blue)
Plaque detail
Tile detail
Safeway (anyone know the story on the remodeling of the building?)

rawkawesome on February 23, 2008 at 6:24 pm

Found quite a few photos of the Alhambra on the Sacramento archives website. Just go to and search the catalog for “Alhambra Theatre”. There are plenty of photos of the exterior, some of the gardens, and quite a few detail shots.

I am trying to locate some color photos of the theatre. Does anyone know where I might be able to find these?

sefi on March 27, 2007 at 5:34 pm

Got it. Thanks.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 27, 2007 at 5:28 pm

I’m glad to help, but do notice that I got those dates wrong. Most of the palace was actually built between 1353 and 1391. The Moors had already been driven out of Spain by 1533.

sefi on March 27, 2007 at 4:46 pm

Thank you very very much – that helped a lot!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 27, 2007 at 3:42 pm

An interesting question. Ultimately, all Alhambra Theatres are named after the original Alhambra, a Moorish palace near Granada, Spain (lots of theatres are named Granada, too.) Most of the palace was built between 1533 and 1553. Here is a web page about it.

The name Alhambra means Red Castle in Arabic. The original Alhambra was the subject of a popular book by American author Washington Irving in the mid 19th century. Irving portrayed the palace and its gardens in a very romantic way, and that romanticism probably had a lot to do with making the name popular with theatre builders. Irving’s book is now in the public domain and can be read on-line.

sefi on March 27, 2007 at 3:03 pm

Does anybody know where the name comes from?
There are so many “Alhambra” theatres in the world, why is that? What’s the idea?

valvann on January 26, 2007 at 8:01 am

Re: Alhambra & National Register
This just points up an ongoing problem in historic preservation: Many, if not most people think that putting a building on the National Register protects it from demolition. Actually it affords no, nada, zilch protection. Nothing prevents the owner of a national register landmark from demolishing it, or altering it for that matter. (Alteration may be grounds for delisting, but can’t be prevented.) Also, a building can’t be listed without the owner’s consent. So the ONLY and BEST protection for historic structures is a strong LOCAL historic preservation ordinance, especially one with two components (California ordinances usually have these): local listing does not depend on owner consent, and demolition requires a review and hearing. In California this usually means at least an EIR (Environmental Impact Report), which if nothing else, gives the public time to rally the troops. But ultimately, if the local public doesn’t give a hoot, the building is a goner. If there’s a building you care about, start agitating to get it listed on your local register of historic places, get on the mailing list for your local historic commission and city government, and show up every time something to do with your building is on an agenda.