Unicorn Theatre

7456 La Jolla Boulevard,
La Jolla, CA 92037

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Showing 1 - 25 of 41 comments

Skiphome on June 16, 2017 at 11:20 am

I went to the tiny 16mm theatre regularly 1970-1972 while attending San Diego State. It is where I discovered films as an art form. And Mithras was a great book store.

Satoshi on April 11, 2016 at 11:42 am

I lost touch many years ago with Don Lohr, Elizabeth, and some others who were involved. I’d like to talk to anyone who knows them. I tried an email left on this site by someone who was central, but no answer. I’m Bob,

Sandesh on December 29, 2013 at 7:25 pm

HI everyone I started out as a janitor at the Unicorn/Mithras cinema bookstore and after two weeks I became the Manager of the Cinema. Tim was the projectionist.I loved it. They were so good to me I was a sole parent and they let me keep a cot in the downstairs office and sell tickets with my son in a backpack when I needed to. We always served free popcorn and special imported syrups with soda water. I learned so much about the movies and trying to get everything Leigh wrote into the phone message was often a challenge. I loved helping in the bookstore and Leigh and Elizabeth suggested I read everything I could at the store so I could discuss novels while I worked. I actually got thru the entire science fiction section. I was a long haired surfy in orange and had a guru and Leigh I think loved that and accepted that,although he could also be quite strict.I think the attention to detail and decor and that no junk books were on the shelves and oh all those movie posters. Sadly it was so exclusive we often would only have around 10 people at a movie. I was not their at the end and I m glad it would of been sad. Im now a writer myself and my son who I carried around is a political journalist on Australian TV and award winning writer on world politics. Im not sure now but for years after a luxury Car store was in the exact location. The place had tons of space below it. My girlfriend at that time ran The Strand Cinema in Ocean Beach where they showed Rocky Horror at midnight. Im in Australia now but the last time I went I ran into several old co-workers at The Pannikin in La Jolla which has a big bookstore next to it.

arriano on March 28, 2012 at 2:19 pm

The Unicorn was a tiny theater in the back of a bookstore. I know I went there at least twice as a kid. I remember seeing Monty Python’s “And Now for Something Completely Different” – this would have been around ‘76 or '77, I think.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 10, 2010 at 5:47 pm

Yeah, I think you had too many somethings.

TLSLOEWS on May 9, 2010 at 6:52 pm

Yeah I messed up I knew it was Rollerbogie when I read Rollerball may have had too many cocktails that night.

1951 on May 9, 2010 at 10:55 am

We’re all just human and after a while everything just “blurs” together. I’m know that I “remember” a lot of the great times in the past, as per my numerous trips to the Unicorn and such…and tend to forget all the bad stuff. That’s part of the “fun” of being nostalgic and trying to “relive” past days. I worked in a few theaters, bookstores and even managed a record store in my younger days, and I tend to now and then sometimes confuse one movie with another…One “Rollerball” with a “Rollerboggie”…As per the Unicorn, for whatever reason; given the hundreds of times I visited the place…I completely forgot about the movie poster covered floors till someone mentioned it and jogged my memory. Getting older is just great, isn’t it?

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 9, 2010 at 8:03 am

I can’t believe Tlsloews made that goof he was a theatre manager in those days.

1951 on May 8, 2010 at 12:38 pm

“Whew”…I’m certainly glad we got that straightened out. While I’m sure we can all appreciate the “attributes” of Ms. Linda Blair, I hardly think that Rollerboggie"(1979)was her most sterling achievement, to say the least. I’m sure we all remember (but best forgotten)the “wonders” of the disco-craze and Hollywood’s jump unto that bandwagon for a time. Jeez! Throw in some skating and it’s “Beach Blanket Bingo” for the 1970’s. I’m surprised somebody hasn’t reworked this movie into another bad remake or at least adapted it for the stage. How about maybe a combo of “Rollerball” and “Rollerboggie”! Now there’s a movie for future generations to pause and wonder about…Ha!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 8, 2010 at 8:32 am

Tlsloews, that is “ROLLERBOGIE” playing with Linda Blair. I thought i was losing my mind.Jimmy Cann was in ROLLERBALL with John Houseman.It had the bad release date as “JAWS” and played across the street at the Imperial. the Miller had “ROLLERBALL” and got the folks that couldn’t get a ticket to Bruce the Shark.

TLSLOEWS on May 5, 2010 at 10:21 pm

Rollerball played at the LOEWS CRESCENT in Dec 1979,as the photos on that page show,Linda Blair ho hay!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 5, 2010 at 9:30 pm

I am Guys. I usually buy instead of rent.

1951 on May 5, 2010 at 8:18 pm

…Dead on the money Roger L. Right-On! I didn’t want to mention Charlotte Rampling but she is an added plus on the watchablity factor for Zardoz! Great team-up with Rollerball for a head trip back to the seventies with some “ultra-violence.” (As noted the original version – let’s not even think about the stinking remake. Now THERE’S a bomb-o-rama!)…and to Mike Rogers: check “Zardoz” out and you’ll be pleasantly surprised, I think.

rleather on May 5, 2010 at 7:54 pm

Zardoz was the speed of prevailing traffic at the time, hippy John Boorman, heady futuristic-yet-reactionary sf, and great English-style set design out of Ken Russell and back-to-the-Earth rhetoric. Would be a great double bill with the original Rollerball. Connery and Charlotte Rampling both half-naked, can’t be all bad!

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 5, 2010 at 6:55 pm

Nick, i am going to give it a look. I never watched it, just when we use to walk the aisles and stand at the back exit door.

1951 on May 5, 2010 at 4:52 pm

I was about twenty-two when I checked “Zardoz” out during it’s first run and it may very well have been at the Unicorn or some other San Diego “art” theater. As I recall, it played off and on for at least a month…perhaps more “meaningful” and “insightful” as seen through my “college-haze”, but I did purchase DVD when it came out and there’s quite a decent commentary with John Boorman throughout the film. Granted, the “wiZARD of OZ” thing was pretty much a give-away from nearly the start and it’s not the best thing Sean Connery ever did, running around in his red diapers, cool looking boots and that long ponytail wig; but he was trying to break out his “Bond” mode. But ya gotta admit, the flying God-Head itself was rather cool along with those double sided Zardoz-masks…It’s worth a look. Great musical score and art direction.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 4, 2010 at 11:40 pm

Tlsloews. It played a week here.I know it played Nashville.Probably a week.

Richard87 on May 4, 2010 at 11:36 pm

When considering “Zardoz,” just remember the derivation of the name… wiZARD of OZ. If that kind of clever in your scifi wows you, well then you’ll probably like this ‘er, “film.”

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 4, 2010 at 11:35 pm

John Boorman, “DELIVERANCE” . Great director, maybe at the age of 17 i couldn’t get into it,but it changed Peter’s life. Maybe,i will give it another look.Great looking one-sheet,wish i would have kept one.

1951 on May 4, 2010 at 5:33 pm

…Actually, No. Not a bomb, really. “Zardoz” (1974 Irish-Made Science Fiction romp) was written and directed by John Boorman, an accomplished and highly thought of director. “Zardoz” has developed quite a cult following and it’s one of those films you either hate or love…I found it amusing in that sort of seventies over-blown way with some interesting ideas. While pretty confusing in parts it’s worth a look. Decent special effects for such a low budget film and how bad can any film be with a giant God-Head flying around to classical music and spewing weapons outta his mouth upon landing? I mean, come on. There’s a lot lot worse trash out there these days with countless infernal remakes (most of which are completely awful)! At least “Zardoz” was trying at a few creative ideas which is more than you can say for most films around today. As I said before, you were always be “entertained” at the Unicorn.

TLSLOEWS on May 4, 2010 at 2:17 pm

Never heard of this Connery flick must have been pretty bad.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on May 3, 2010 at 8:04 pm

“ZARDOZ” Sean Connery. What a bomb.Played it a week and it was gone and I don’t think to drive-ins.We had doorman who stayed high on Grass.He saw “ZARDOZ” and it completely “Changed his Life”.Go figure. No Roger you weren’t going crazy.Played at {National Hills Theatre,on CT}.

rleather on May 3, 2010 at 7:06 pm

I remember seeing a 24-hour marathon on New Year’s Eve of science fiction films here. It included the Spencer Tracy Jekyll and Hyde, a Planet of the Apes film, Metropolis, Zardoz, etc. Free popcorn for those who stayed the night (started at 5 pm or so on 12/31). Around 4am Zardoz started and I was not sure the film or me was going crazy. Great book store with avant-garde as well as french film books in stock in front.

Richard87 on January 25, 2010 at 11:46 pm

I was introduced to Mithras by my mother when I was barely a teenager. Mom had offbeat tastes in all the arts, and the broad range of books I found there, nestled in their exotic home, made a fertile medium in which my own tastes were free to grow and change.

Later, as an older teen the Unicorn became a regular part of the circuit my friends and I adopted as our afterhours routine. I remember a period of years where the theatre ran a days long movie marathon around New Years. As those days passed we would soon find ourselves inhabiting an unending twilight of altered perception, fueled by the disregard for night and day, combined with the on again / off again hours of film, interspersed with periods away from the theatre to sharpen the experience with a dose of whatever the laboratory was serving that day. Heady.

Many films remembered as if through a veil, such as Far From the Madding Crowd, seen at what must have been 3:00 or 4:00 in the morning, followed by Death in Venice. I also vividly remember the climax of a New Years eve showing of Bullitt, when immediately after having shot dead a security guard, the bad guy is caught between two sets of glass doors exiting the airport baggage claim. One set was blocked by the body of the dead guard, in front of the other was McQueen, pistol drawn. Exactly in the quiet moment between McQueen’s fatal gunshot to the bad guy, and the first bystander scream in the movie, the real life clock ticked over to midnight and the theatre erupted into shouts of “Happy New Year!” The timing was uncanny, and unlikely to have come about through sheer coincidence.

It’s all ancient history now, but lives on in the DNA of all of us who were lucky enough to have passed through those spaces then. Thanks for remembering. And a big thanks to Harold Leigh and Harold Darling for giving so much to us all.

1951 on January 5, 2010 at 11:23 am

Dear Michael G. Kramer…You were very fortunate indeed to have been a part (even if only in a financial sense) of what was one of the greatest treasures in the San Diego area for all of those cinema/book/culture enthusiasts who “took part”. Thank you for your contribution, insight and your memories…It is so nice to know that so many people appreciated and enjoyed the Unicorn/Mithras during it’s times of operation. As I have commented before, it was like the death of a very dear friend when I learned of the closing of what should be regarded now as a San Diego Historic Landmark…and is, at least in the hearts of all the many fans of the Unicorn Cinema/Mithras Book Store. Thanks and best regards, Nick.