United Artists Theatre

606 E. Colorado Boulevard,
Pasadena, CA 91101

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United Artists Theatre in Pasadena

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Not to be confused with the new United Artists Pasadena Marketplace multiplex cinema, this old United Artists Theatre was opened around 1931 with 912 seats. It was operated by Fox Theatres by the early-1940’s.

Closed in the late-1980’s, it has been gutted and converted for retail space.

Contributed by William Gabel, "manwithnoname"

Recent comments (view all 30 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 19, 2009 at 8:52 pm

I went to the UA in Old Town a few times in the 1980s. Nothing to write home about. That part of Pasadena had not yet turned into Gap Paradise as it is today.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 26, 2009 at 5:05 pm

I don’t remember ever seeing the original facade of the United Artists. The first time I saw a movie there, about 1961, it had already been clad in that aluminum skin seen in the 1980s photos. The entire house had been renovated, with new seats, carpeting, drapes, and all new fixtures in the rest rooms. It still had new theater smell.

Boxoffice Magazine ran an item about the renovated theater in its February 6, 1961, issue, which said that U.A. had spent $250,000 on the changes. Of considerable surprise to me is the news that the house had been reseated as part of the renovation, reducing capacity to 756. The last time I went to a movie there, in the 1980s, by which time I was taller than I’d been in the early 1960s, the seating had seemed very cramped to me. It must have been incredibly cramped before the renovation.

As I’d been to that part of Pasadena a few times earlier, I must have seen the U.A. before the aluminum skin was put on the facade, but I don’t remember it. As aluminum skins went, it wasn’t a bad one, but I’m still grateful that Angel’s school supply peeled it off and restored the original detailing underneath.

Zubi
Zubi on August 9, 2009 at 1:02 am

The United Artists-Pasadena single was a test site for experimental projection/sound equipment, such as UA Cinema 150. The Naifys, former oweners of United Artists Theatre Circuit Inc., came down to watch the Tournament of Roses Parade from bleachers constructed on the theatre’s rooftop. Later, bleachers were also erected atop the UA Marketplace-Pasadena, which opened further down Colorado Blvd. in the 1980s. The single-screen’s official name was “United Artists Theatre” – NOT “United Artists Pasadena Theatre” as stated above. Also, I don’t know its early history but it was operated by UATC well AFTER being managed by Fox West Coast Theatres.

Zubi
Zubi on June 19, 2010 at 8:01 pm

I have 736 (from a 1989 district office listing) as this theatre’s seating capacity, much less than what is indicated above. Also, again, as evidenced by the photos linked to this page, the name of this place—both historically and during its last days in the 80s—was simply the “United Artists”. Of course, it was located in Pasadena. However, it was not named the “United Artists Pasadena Theatre”, just “United Artists”.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 24, 2010 at 5:31 am

Fox West Coast gave up the United Artists in Pasadena in 1950 as part of the consent decree. Boxoffice of February 2 that year listed twelve FWC houses in California that had gone to UA, finally severing the relationship that had existed between the two chains. The other eleven houses were: State and United Artists, Los Angeles; Capitol and California, Glendale; United Artists in Inglewood, Long Beach, and Berkeley; Long Beach in Long Beach; Mission, San Jose; Varsity, Palo Alto, and California, Richmond.

FWC was operating the Pasadena UA at least as early as 1937, according to items I’ve seen in Boxoffice, but I’m pretty sure it was a UA-operated house from 1950 until it closed. I also recall the Washington Theatre in Pasadena being a UA house in the 1960s.

Zubi
Zubi on June 24, 2010 at 10:02 am

Webmaster – thanks for correcting those two items… Just one more thing, the intro. above says “closed in the 1960’s”. It should say “closed in the late 1980s”.

Mr. Vogel – you really know your theatre history. Very interesting. If you haven’t already done so, I recommend taking LA’s Broadway District Walking Tour next time you’re in that area.

iatse311
iatse311 on October 21, 2010 at 8:14 pm

View link
angels art supply at least restored original facade, removed that awful look from the 80’s View link

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