Garmar Theater

2325 Whittier Boulevard,
Montebello, CA 90640

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Showing 1 - 25 of 58 comments

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 27, 2012 at 6:36 am

Here is a fresh link to the photo of the Garmar’s lobby on the cover of the “Modern Theatre” section of Boxoffice, December 2, 1950.

rustyoltimer on February 27, 2012 at 6:22 am

FYI, the Garmar got its name from the Olander’s two sons, GARy and MARk. It also was the only theatre I ever knew of that had two enclosed rooms for smoking. Each had a clear glass window, speakers for the sound, and each held about 25-30 seats.

rivest266 on June 19, 2011 at 5:16 pm

Correction: Page 194 not 1949

rivest266 on June 19, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Picture at Boxoffice Vault 1950 08 05 p 1949 Boxoffice Vault

acidjazz on September 12, 2010 at 11:01 pm

You can find many pictures of Montebello’s landmarks on this webpage:
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 1, 2010 at 8:18 am

A photo of the lobby of the Garmar was featured on the frontispiece of Boxoffice Magazine’s Modern Theatre section, December 2, 1950.

rwhiteside on November 22, 2009 at 5:31 pm

So…I was cleaning out an old house here in Los Lunas,NM and found a well preserved, unopened bottle of ‘Private Stock’ Chablis from the Marcel & Jeanne French Cafe in Montebello. Before I opened it or tossed it, I Googled the Cafe and found the musings from all you ol' geezers trying to relive your childhoods in the old days of Montebello. If anyone might want this bottle of wine, and will pay the shipping, I will be glad to send it back to California where it came from..

kencmcintyre on May 21, 2009 at 7:10 am

Here is a January 1959 ad from the LA Times:

nightmaretony on September 23, 2008 at 3:13 pm

Hi Droog, my best friend found this message. I was the repair guy you talked to back then.

It was a running gag with me way back when about Robert being the owner. The Blake family actually had a more famous landmark in that his uncle Eddie Blake owns this restuarant in Los Angeles called Tail of the Pup. you can see it in the movie Body Double.

The arcade opened back in 1980 or 81. I do remember the Garmar, fave movie I saw was Rollercoaster, in full Senssuround glory.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 15, 2008 at 2:37 am

There is now a Cinema Treasures page for the Vogue Theatre.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 13, 2008 at 6:43 am

Laurie, you have a sharper eye than I do. I hadn’t noticed the lettering on that building. It must be the building on the southwest corner 5th, right across Whittier from the Security Bank building. The county assessor’s office gives a construction date of 1926 for the building on that lot now, so it must be the same one in the photo. Unfortunately the library doesn’t have any closer photos of it, except one showing one end of the 5th street side of it (at far right in this photo.) I’d be interested to know what your neighbor might remember about the building with the arched front, too.

Also, I checked the finding aid for the S. Charles Lee papers at UCLA, and it does list Alfred Olander as the owner of the Garmar Theatre.

montebellodays on May 13, 2008 at 5:16 am

I started going over some previous posts and noticed Julia April 28, 2007 said that the Garmar was owned by Al Olander. That is the name my neighbor gave me as owner of the Vogue.
Then, Joe, I looked again at the two photos of Whittier Blvd. that you posted 5/7/08 and saw something interesting. In the 1935 photo on the right/center edge of the photo there is a two story, possibly brick building with what looks like OLANDER in white letters at the top of the building. Could that be the Cameo? Mr. Olander may have been the cinema mogul of Montebello! I’m going to show the photos to my neighbor and see if it jogs her memory any more.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 11, 2008 at 6:11 am

Correction to my previous comment: The bowling alley I mentioned was southeast of Garfield and Pomona Boulevard, not southwest.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 11, 2008 at 6:09 am

Laurie & Droog: Thanks for the confirmation of the Vogue’s location. Now I can have it added to the Cinema Treasures database. An opening date of 1940s also confirms my suspicion that the Vogue was in a converted store building rather than a purpose-built theatre building. The assessor’s office says the building itself was erected in 1929.

The name Olander is familiar to me. An acquaintance named Don Olander some thirty years ago told me that his family ran either the bowling alley or the coffee shop in the bowling alley (the memory is dim) that was in the northern part of Montebello, southwest of Garfield and Pomona Boulevard. The subject of the Vogue never came up in our conversation, but the name Olander is not common so I wouldn’t be surprised if it was the same family.

But as one mystery is solved, another opens up. Or, now, two more. The building which is probably at 520 Whittier and which may have been a theater is still a mystery, now that we know it wasn’t the Vogue; and in addition we now have the Cameo on the opposite side of Whittier somewhere in that same area. I’m quite sure that only two theaters (the Garmar and the Vogue) were operating in Montebello by the late 1950s, so the odds of anyone showing up who remembers either the Cameo or the possible theater at 520 Whittier are slim, so this is probably another research mystery.

montebellodays on May 11, 2008 at 4:51 am

Joe, I’m sure that’s the Vogue. It had a central box office booth in the front center. I talked to a neighbor of mine that lived in Montebello from the late 1920s to 1958. She said that the Vogue was built in the early 1940s and that it was owned by a family named Olander (not sure of the spelling). She worked there for a while in her teens. She also said that there was another old theatre called the CAMEO further east on Whittier, maybe near 5th street, but on the south side of the street.

Droog on May 10, 2008 at 9:49 am

Yes that is it, it use to be the travel agency.
View link

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 10, 2008 at 1:29 am

Thanks, Laurie. I’ve checked Google Maps street view and the parcel viewer at the L.A. County Assessor’s website, and I see a building at 712 Whittier Boulevard that looks vaguely familiar to me. Could you take a look at this photo at Flickr and tell me if the building now housing Salon Maxx, and having an angled projection punctured by three round holes, is the building which housed the Vogue? As I said in my earlier comment, I only saw the place a few times, and that was ages ago, so my memory is pretty dim. But I do now have a vague recollection of that architectural feature with the three holes in it, and another vague memory that there was a parking lot just a little way east of the Vogue (and there is one just a bit east of this building), but I’m not at all positive about any of this.

montebellodays on May 9, 2008 at 4:53 pm

Regarding the Vogue Theatre, it was located at the top (north)of the “T” intersection of Whittier Blvd. & South 7th Street. Conlin Bros. Sporting Goods was at the corner of Montebello Blvd.& Whittier Blvd. then one or two small shops and then the Vogue. The theatre closed, remodeled, and was reopened as Montebello Travel Agency in 1971 or 1972. I was at the ribbon cutting. The Montebello Chamber of Commerce or the Montebello News archives would be sources for the exact address.

kencmcintyre on May 8, 2008 at 4:06 am

I wish I could help. I went to traffic school in Montebello about twelve years ago, and haven’t been back since.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 8, 2008 at 3:48 am

I’m still trying to track down information about the Vogue, Montebello’s other movie house, which is not yet listed at CT.

The L.A. Public Library has two old photos of Whittier Boulevard looking toward 5th Street, ca.1920 and ca.1935, and in each there is a building with a big arch making up most of the facade. In the 1935 photo, it looks as though this building has display cases form movie posters in its entryway. In the first photo the area is just sort of a muddle. The building might have been converted to a theatre at some date after this photo was taken, or it’s possible it was being remodeled at the time of the photograph.

Montebello was a good-sized town by 1920, and it seems likely that it would have had a move theatre then. The building is a bit narrow,and I’m wondering if maybe this was the elusive Vogue Theatre in an early incarnation. I went there maybe three or four times at most, back in the 1950s, all I remember of it was that it was on the north side of Whittler Boulevard and was very narrow, and the back couple of rows of seats were on risers so you had to go up a step or two from the aisle to reach them (each row had its own steps, so it wasn’t like stadium seating.)

I can’t remember exactly where on Whitter Boulevard the Vogue was, but I’ve always had the impression it was only a few blocks west of Bluff Road, and the block between 5th and 6th Streets would be about right. Does anybody in Montebello have the exact address of the Vogue? I’ve checked the L.A. County Assessor’s parcel viewer on the Internet and the buildings on the west end of that block in the second photo above are apparently still there.

The most likely candidate for the arched building is 520 W. Whittier, Montebello being one of the towns that puts even numbers on the north sides of streets. The building at that address has a construction date of 1915, and an effective construction date (major remodeling) of 1933, which would be about right for the fairly modern style of the Vogue as I remember it. If somebody could dig up the address of the Vogue, we’ll know whether or not this was it’s location.

kencmcintyre on May 8, 2008 at 3:38 am

I do. Everyone has left for the night here, so I talk to myself.

kencmcintyre on May 8, 2008 at 3:22 am

This page says late 70s or early 80s:

kencmcintyre on May 8, 2008 at 3:18 am

So the theater was demolished and replaced by a mini-mall, but no demolition date as of yet? Anyone know?

montebellodays on May 8, 2008 at 2:41 am

Wow, what a lot of great memories have been shared! The Garmar features I best remember are Psycho, The Birds, Blue Hawaii (Elvis) and The Parent Trap (Hayley Mills). The matinee games and prizes were great. Later, some of my high school friends worked in the Garmar Box Office. I remember four places adjacent to Montebello Jr. High. Across the street from Currie’s was the E&G Cafe, and across from Zesto’s was Pizza Town. The Jr. High was orginally the high school and it had a big lawn and huge trees in front of the wonderful old brick building. My grandfather went there 1925-1929. It’s too bad they had to tear it down. I’m sorry the Garmar is gone, too. Hi Larry C.