Patio Theater

Half Moon Bay, CA

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Last time I was in there was 1970. It had a Spanish theme inside. It was torn down in 1975 I believe.

Contributed by Ken Layton

Recent comments (view all 5 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 15, 2009 at 5:51 pm

The December 3, 1949, issue of Boxoffice Magazine said that construction had begun on a new theater for Alvin and Harvey Hatch at Half Moon Bay. Opening was scheduled for spring of 1950. The Patio Theatre, with 500 seats, was on the magazine’s July 22, 1950, list of new theaters recently opened. Just three years after opening, Harvey Hatch closed the house due to lack of business, according to the September 26, 1953, issue of Boxoffice.

The Patio was reopened by a new owner, Loren Powell, on May 14, 1954, according to the May 22 issue of Boxoffice. The house did well enough to install CinemaScope later that year. By 1956, Boxoffice is saying that Ward Stoops is the owner of the Patio, and in the early 1960s, various issues name the owner as Tesco Tesi.

The June 22, 1970, issue of Boxoffice said the Patio was temporarily closed for refurbishing and redecorating. I’ve found nothing about it after that.

Although the Patio may have had a Spanish theme, I doubt that a suburban concrete block theater built in 1949 would have qualified as full-blown Spanish Renaissance in style. I can’t find any photos of it, but I’d imagine it was some sort of Spanish Moderne style.

kencmcintyre on May 15, 2009 at 6:24 pm

Here is an article dated 11/11/58 from the San Mateo Times:

HALF MOON BAY â€" The Patio Theater, Half Moon Bay, closed for almost a year, will re-open its doors for business starting Friday, November 14. The announcement was made by Robert Swift, who along with Teseo Tesi, Half Moon Bay businessman, will operate the show house. Swift said that the decision to reopen the theater was made at the request of its many patrons for film entertainment.

The Patio will be open on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday and will show two double movies on Thursday and Friday with a complete change of bill for Saturday and Sunday. Box office will open on those nights at 6:45 and the show to start at 7 o'clock. Main features will play first, and will be rerun following the companion feature. Swift will operate the business office and do the booking. He had operated the Patio last year, during the school term. He is also a science teacher at Half Moon Bay Union High school.

Swift said, “I feel that with the numerous requests we have received to re-open that it insures success. I promise that we will be getting the latest films and prove attractive to our patrons.”

KenLayton on June 6, 2009 at 9:51 pm

I’d sure like to see some pictures of this theater.

GaryParks on September 26, 2010 at 12:47 pm

The theatre was extremely simple on the outside. To call it Streamline Moderne would be kind—though the two-sided neon sign and readerboard qualified for such nomenclature. The exterior was a plain example of Midcentury Modern. A photo—the only one I have ever found—of the theatre is likely going to appear in a book I am co-authoring. I have walked around the outside of the concrete block office building that stands there now, and despite the 1970s Spanish stucco veneer and trimmings, it would appear that the shell of the building onsite today is the structure of the theatre auditorium, along with part of the lobby structure which came out at right angles to the auditorium to meet the street.
I have yet to find any confirmation of a Spanish theme in the building, though with a theatre of early 1950s vintage, this would have had to have been limited to little more than some nice murals on the auditorium walls, and perhaps some other minor elements so themed.
There was another theatre in the town, called the Half Moon Bay. The only photo I’ve ever found of it is an aerial shot of the whole town, and the theatre is visible as a simple gabled structure on Main St. Some sort of simple, perhaps vaguely Mission style facade can be made out in the photo. This theatre dated back to the silent era.

epperlyg on November 18, 2010 at 2:52 pm

I was surprised to see a listing of the Patio Theater in the Cinema Treasures. During my teenage years, I was employed at the Patio Theater as a projectionist. I believe the years were 1958 through 1961. The projection equipment were two Simplex XL projectors with carbine rod arc lamps for the light source. We operated with 20 minute 35mm film reels making change-overs from one projector to another throughout the feature.

The Patio Theater was my second theater with the first being the Starview Drive-in located on Big Basin Highway between Big Basin State Park and Boulder Creek, California. My parents managed the theater in 1954 and I was the projectionist at the age of 14 years. This theater closed in the year of 1955 and became a two house subdivision.

My projectionist years extended to the 20th Century Theater and the Taku Twin Theater during the years of 1970’s and 1980’s. Both Theaters were located in Juneau, Alaska.

Gordon Epperly â€" Juneau Alaska

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