California Theatre

2113 Kittredge Street,
Berkeley, CA 94704

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California, c. 1982

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Built in 1920 as the T & D Theatre for live theater and movies. The now-triplexed California Theatre has been operated by Landmark Theatres since 1994.

Known as ‘The Cal’ to locals, the theatre closed in 2001 and was reopened by Landmark on June 28, 2002.

Contributed by Ian Grundy

Recent comments (view all 31 comments)

terrywade on September 13, 2008 at 9:35 pm

Larry***I think the old Fox West Coast managers that ran this once grand small movie palace would be very upset at the current condition that the California Theater is in now in 2008. Like I have said in a past note Landmark is not going to spend a penny on theatres they just lease that they don’t own. How nice If someone came in like ‘Sundance’ and put in a large curved Cinemascope screen with curtains that was once in the downstairs part of the theater. At least with all the people that have complained in the last three weeks and lost business Landmark Theaters is now back to advertising in the Cronicle again starting this past Friday with the times of all their theaters in the SF Bay Area. Thanks to true theatre managers like the Fox West Coast/NGT team at least some of us got to see true showmanship at the once grand California Theatre.

larrygoldsmith on September 13, 2008 at 10:23 pm

The problem with Landmark Theatres is that they lease theatres for the most part. Some are owned. They have always “milked” their theatres, rather than “operate with showmanship”. Luxury like an operating title curtain, is not important to them. Nothing worse than going into an auditorium and staring at a blank white screen. I am sure due to downsizing for a twin cinema is the reason there is no Cinemascope screen. A theatre must have plenty of depth to accomodate this type of screen, due to visual comfort of patrons.Fox West Coast/National General Theatres ALWAYS maintained a level of showmanship that was hard to find with any other chain.

terrywade on September 14, 2008 at 6:36 pm

Hi**The downstairs theater at the California is the same size as it was before in the 50’s. They only twined the balcony into two small cinemas. They put in a smaller flat screen and moved it up a little. The curtains are still on the sides but they don’t work,the motor is broke. Landmark does have curtains that work across the street at another cinema they run. They have them only because the original owner had put them in. Every time I go to the Landmark Albany or the California I always tell them If you can’t fix your curtains then at least put some blue, green or red lights on the boring white screen. I watch people come in 20 minutes before the film starts and look at a white screen. Sometimes music will be playing or you may be lucky to see video adds run with the house lights up to wash all the add image off the screen. How nice If the California got the motor fixed and put in some blue lights on the curtain like the old days. Some projection managers at Landmark don’t even know the proper way to work the curtains they do have. Some theatres will open the drapes to a dark white screen then wait and start the film. I think the best way is to start the film then open the curtains so you have the film showing on the drapes as they part to the screen. Same at the end close them on the last 10 seconds while the credits are still on the screen. This can be done with the auto tabs moved up a little.

larrygoldsmith on September 15, 2008 at 12:14 pm

Terry, Me again. In regards to proper title curtain cues, at the beginning of a film usually the “Trademark” is shown first, curtain should remain closed during this time. There usually a short dark period right after trademark is shown, this is the curtain open cue. If film preludes the trademark the curtain cue would be immediate.NEVER should a curtain open on a blank screen, that’s why there are curtain cues. The end of a film will show the curtain cue with a small “splash” at top right of screen, which is not the same as a changeover cue. Also, curtain should be closed and reopened if previews are shown before feature showing feature trademark on curtain. In the old days this format was followed, if the projectionist was well seasoned. Fox West Coast Theatres, NGC Theatres used to monitor to make sure this curtain procedure was followed.

kencmcintyre on January 1, 2009 at 3:20 pm

Here is a photo showing the opening of Fahrenheit 9/11 in June 2004:

kpdennis on April 25, 2009 at 3:41 pm

The Cal as it appeared in spring 1996:
View link

MagicLantern on March 1, 2011 at 6:52 am

Anyone got a breakdown of number of seats in each auditorium?

Mikeyisirish on December 11, 2012 at 8:01 pm

A few July 2012 photos can be seen here, here, here and here.

mlind on January 21, 2013 at 12:03 pm

At one point it was called the Fox California.

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