Arlington Theatre

1317 State Street,
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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Arlington Theatre - Santa Barbara, CA

This Mission Revival/Atmospheric styled theatre built for the Fox West Coast Theatres circuit in 1931 has been beautifully restored. It opened on May 22, 1931 with Janet Gaynor in “Daddy Long-Legs”. It had 1,776 in orchestra and loges.

In 1973 the loge seating was replaced by regular seating, increasing the total seating capacity to 1,825. In 1976 additional rows of seating were added to increase the seating capacity to 2,025. The Arlington Theatre and its Atmospheric Spanish Mission Revival style interior is just one part of its majesty. After walking past the free-standing ticket booth, under the marquee and through the Spanish courtyard and fountains, visitors enter the small lobby on their way into movie paradise.

Entering the theatre, the auditorium is flanked on both sides by faux-Spanish Mission Revival style villas while lanterns, windows and staircases adorn both walls. The ceiling is also filled with twinkling stars that give the illusion that the viewer is watching a film in an outside courtyard. It is equipped with a Robert-Morton 4 manual 27 ranks ‘Wonder’ organ which was removed from the Loew’s Jersey Theatre, Jersey City, NJ in 1975.

The Arlington Theatre is a can’t miss experience and a beautifully restored example of the great Fox palaces of the past.

Recent comments (view all 51 comments)

drb on May 6, 2009 at 10:34 pm

Now one block away.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 19, 2009 at 11:07 am

I wonder if the postcard view at top was an architect’s rendition made during the planning stages. The decor shown in your image looks original but is drastically different.

Ziggy on May 19, 2009 at 11:38 am

I think the Arlington’s original “gateway” type proscenium was replaced when the wide screen was installed.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 19, 2009 at 5:25 pm

When did that happen?

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on May 20, 2009 at 1:42 pm

That is a really nice job. Compared to some other renovation projects done in movie palaces during the 50’s this one is very respectful.

William on January 28, 2010 at 9:41 am

This theatre has always been the Arlington from 1931 till now. It was operated by Fox West Coast Theatres and then by Metropolitan Theatres.

Mikeyisirish on June 27, 2012 at 7:35 am

A few 2012 photos can be seen here and here.

johninman on March 17, 2014 at 6:01 am

I grew up in this theater and those of Santa Barbara Co.Born in Santa Maria It’s theater of the same name was my second home;an old Victorian monstrosity,with plush seats and balcony and even opera style boxes an a huge red gum drop chandelier et al.I would go and sit in it just to take it all in.I went to the Fox A. in about 1955,I was 8, and of course was riveted by it’s interior the film was about a Maze were a mysterious monster lurked,a birth defect,it might have been a musty re-release,they did that[saw at Xmas break,“The Bishop’s Wife at The State Theater,down the street,1963/64].Does anyone here have archive of The Santa Maria Theater,or of it’s poor cousin the Studio?Ne` in Santa Maria July,‘47

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on March 17, 2014 at 7:34 am

johninman: Cinema Treasures page for the Santa Maria Theatre is at this link. We don’t yet have a listing for the Studio Theatre in Santa Maria.

DavidZornig on July 17, 2020 at 8:53 pm

Article about the Wonder Morton Organ at the Arlington.

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