1317 State Street,
1317 State Street,Santa Barbara, CA 93101
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A chronology of 70mm presentation history in California’s Central Coast, which includes the Santa Barbara region, has recently been published. The Arlington gets several mentions in the piece.
The Arlington is celebrating it’s 90th anniversary and has reopened.
“Kicking off the day’s events on Saturday, May 22 at 12:30pm will be a free live performance featuring organ music provided by the Santa Barbara Theatre Organ Society with special guest organist Adam Aceto. Aceto will play on the Arlington’s Great Theatre Pipe Organ, a 1928 Robert-Morton “Wonder Morton” of which only 5 were ever made.”
With the $5 admission ticket the organ performance, a film and free popcorn were included.
Article about the Wonder Morton Organ at the Arlington.
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.
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
A few 2012 photos can be seen here and here.
This theatre has always been the Arlington from 1931 till now. It was operated by Fox West Coast Theatres and then by Metropolitan Theatres.
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.
When did that happen?
I think the Arlington’s original “gateway” type proscenium was replaced when the wide screen was installed.
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.
Now one block away.
The mandatory fire evacuation area is now only three blocks from the Arlington. Eek.
Here is a 2007 photo from the U of Washington collection:
Just saw ‘Coraline’ in 3D on a Sunday afternoon. Great crowd. Beautiful theater with stunning interior design and an excellent price. Definitely recommended.
From the LA Times, November 18, 1931:
Santa Barbara Theater Robbed
A nervous bandit late last night held up the box office at the Fox-Arlington Theater, and escaped with $127, taken from the cashier, Mrs. Alice Thuresson. The bandit shoved a note through the grating, reading, “Turn over all your money or I’ll drill you”.
One of my favorite memories is my grandmother taking me to see “The Sound of Music” at this theatre in the 1960s. I will never forget it. And then we saw “mary Poppins” at The Granada. Two fantastic theatres.
I have been to many of the old movie palaces in Los Angeles so I could not miss an opportunity on my recent trip to Santa Barbara to see a film at the Arlington Theatre. It is great that this theatre still runs first-run films so that I was able to see a film – “Hairspray” – without waiting for some special screening as is the case with the movie palaces that are still intact in Los Angeles. The auditorium of the Arlington Theatre is truly spectacular.
I grew up in Santa Barbara during the 30s and remember that the alcoves on either side going into the theater used to contain live parrots in the trees and on perches. The highlight of our Saturdays was to go the Saturday morning serials (10 cents) and see the parrots lining the walkway. It is the most beautiful theater I have ever seen. As I remember, the walls inside were of some soft fibrous material that you could stick your fingernails into. The ceiling was beautiful with all the stars shining.
Posted by C. Dickerson on July 22, 2007 at 9:48 a.m.
My wife and I moved to Santa Barbara in 1971, we lived a few bloks from the theater, the first time we went there was a summer night, when we entered we believed we were in a courtyard! We have recently moved away, but we would always go to the Arlington to see the great epic movies (all the Star Wars, Indiana Jones, Superman), there was just no place better to enjoy them.. we miss it.
Many thanks “SB Hobo” for your encouraging remarks regarding the Granada’s future. I’ll pay another visit when the old lady reopens!
Glad you enjoyed the Arlington’s silent films with organ.
My favourite memory is of TWO GREATS who played at San Francisco’s fabulous “Silent Film Festival” hosted at the CASTRO THEATRE; Denis James was outstandingly fabulous while the late and great Bob Vaughn received a deafening ovation as the over eighty-year old staggered out of the jam-packed auditorium. I had tears of joy both nights.
A few memories of the Arlington, on the 30th Ann of Star Wars. While I saw that premier opening night in a multiplex in Montalvo (Ventura suburb), I saw a few midnight premiers of other SW episodes, STrek IV, and Indian Jones III. But my favorite event at the Arlington was watching Safety Last with Gaylord Carter accompanying. This probably was during the first season of the Organ Series. These 4? films per year series ran the first few years after the 80’s restoration when the Loew’s organ was added. Don’t quote me if GC was the accompanist for SL; I may have the wrong film for GC’s appearance. Suffice to say to experience a classic silent comedy brought to life by a master’s acoustic expression of notes, voices, stops, and the organs special sound effects, is a treasure to remember. (I know this is a theater site, but I can’t resisting plugging Harold Lloyd, who I think is greater than Charlie C and Buster K (and so did a majority of their generation); but whose reputation diminished because he kept the rights to his films and didn’t want them over exposed or mass marketed.) The Organ Series also included Lon Chaney Senior’s The Phantom of the Opera and I think Korla Pandit accompanied.
Don’t dismay about the Granada so much quite yet. I’m just a local who reads the local paper, but my recollection is the intent is to restore the feel of the old theater. If you look inside the shell thru the open back wall (last I looked 6 months ago) you could see they’ve uncovered the original ornate ceiling. I think there was an article in the paper last year about the marquee coming down because a faux original will be going up. I believe the stage and dressing rooms were ripped out so they can be enlarged and modernized so the symphony can move there (from the Arlington) and other feature events can be accommodated. Such compromises to history were done to bring enough performing orgs and benefactors on board to fund the renovation/alteration. See next post about the A.