Cornell Theatre

1212 N. San Fernando Boulevard,
Burbank, CA 91504

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Cornell Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

The Cornell Theatre was opened on November 18, 1949 and had two main aisles that ran down the theatre. The theater was perhaps best known for its neon-laden marquee with the words ‘Cornell’ scrawled across it.

Inside the auditorium, all seating was on a single level. There were Art Deco style ‘swirls’ on the side-walls and on each side of the proscenium. The curved ceiling contained ‘twinkling star’ lights, giving a semi-Atmospheric style to the decoration.

The Cornell Theatre was demolished in 1980 after closing in 1978.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 31 comments)

scoie71
scoie71 on December 19, 2010 at 5:21 pm

My Father managed the Cornell in the 70’s. His name was Tom Kalcoff. I was excited to see people talk about the Theatre I grew up in. I saw Jaws there and many other movies. When it closed down I remember we were all very sad. They built condos and a mini mall on the site. What a waste.. to a beautiful Burbank landmark. I was “as” devastated when they shut the doors on Big Dons Arcade as well. The old Burbank I grew up in.. how I miss it!

blauble
blauble on March 12, 2011 at 11:58 am

I grew up and Burbank and have many memories of the Cornell. We used to go in to watch a movie on Saturday morning and sometimes stay thru 2 showings all for 49 cents. Saw my first James Bond (Thunderball) on one of those Saturdays. Because the Cornell was such a big part of our teenage lives, BHS class of 73 group pic was taken out front.

Art1956
Art1956 on June 15, 2011 at 1:22 pm

Someone mentioned seeing the double feature of Outlaw Josey Wales and Chino at the Cornell in 1976. I remember seeing the same double feature at the Wiltern in 1976. What great memories.Here’s a good link about the Cornell and other Burbank theatres of days gone by.

http://www.jbhs1967.com/burbanktheaters/Cornelltheater.htm

aracinggrace
aracinggrace on July 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm

I am looking for a Bill Darnell that use to hang out there in 1968-69. He rode a motorcycle and knew Dona Fleming.

hondo59
hondo59 on December 20, 2011 at 12:16 pm

Hi Art,

That was me in NJ. I saw Josey and Chino at the Cornell. There was a pretty good size crowd that night. My parents and I were driving around the country in August of 1976. We stayed at a motel closeby (almost across the street) and we had a free evening so we took in two of our favorite actors. I have the ticket stubs to this day. I can’t believe it’s so long ago. I was sad to see a K-mart or something like that in its place. Double features were common then at the 2nd run theaters. What a way to catch up on movies! I hope you enjoyed the Wiltern. I’m sorry we didn’t get to go there as I know it’s a beautiful building.

drb
drb on December 21, 2011 at 10:57 am

Just to give a better idea of exactly where this was, you can see the sign in the background here: http://wesclark.com/burbank/san_fern_rd_zodys.jpg

The Zody’s in the foreground is now K-Mart. The Cornell is two blocks away at, not surprisingly, Cornell Street.

Paradisecove
Paradisecove on February 11, 2015 at 3:20 am

@Socie71…Do you have any prints that I could buy? I also have many memories of this grand theater…please advise:

pocketplayer
pocketplayer on August 12, 2015 at 12:34 am

WOW! This is a serious memory blast. To those who found this site, we are blessed. I’m not sure how one simple thought can trigger another, then another. The Internet of course changes everything. Thinking of the Cornell Movie Theater is like going back to another era of time. Only yesterday I was researching the ultimate bad guy, actor William Smith. IMDB him. He was in a movie about bikers and there was this hot woman. This was a powerful moment for a kid.

Yes, San Fernando Road is pretty much the same. McDonalds, Taco Bell, IHOP, Denny’s (now Harry’s), 31 Flavors…the architecture is the same, the era and times vastly different.

A movie on Saturday for $0.50…that’s two quarters! I remember how disappointed I was when movies were $0.75. This was unacceptable. Seriously…what is wrong with the world! I was about 12.

Billy Jack, Willy Wonka, and Jaws blew me away. I can remember where I sat when the head in Jaws rolled out. That freaked everyone out. Going home after Billy Jack with my friend Tony and fighting in his backyard like we were in the movie. A scene in Billy Jack where I laughed and everyone of my friends thought that was inappropriate. How awkward I felt. How I always wondered what was going on for me at that time. All these memories triggered because of this theater.

When the Cornell closed Burbank had five movie studios and no movie theaters. How ironic is that!

wilberfan
wilberfan on June 27, 2016 at 8:45 am

I would have seen a lot of movies here in the early to mid 60s—but the only one I can remember is “Journey to the Seventh Planet”—probably because it scared the cheese out of me. I’ll bet I sat thru it more than once. Good times.

Susannahmitchell
Susannahmitchell on August 11, 2016 at 12:11 pm

Anyone know of a Burbank movie theater in about 1957 that had plush chairs that rocked and had a crying room?

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