Paradise Theatre

4115 Viking Way,
Long Beach, CA 90808

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The Paradise Theatre was called the Triangle Cinema when it opened on December 20, 1973 in a neighborhood shopping area on a diagonal street, which connects Bellflower and Carson Boulevards. It most likely was carved from an existing building in the center, which opened in 1951.

The manager, Don Binkley, said in The Long Beach Press-Telegram that it was to be a family theatre with no R or X rated movies. “Paper Moon” and “Harold and Maude” was its first program. Ownership was composed of a group of independent businessmen that were planning other neighborhood theatres.

Amenities included an 8 by 32' stage for meetings and lectures and space for a few wheel chairs, which was before law required the accommodation. It’s not known how long the family theatre policy held but later ads showed it playing “Last Tango in Paris”.

On October 31, 1975, an article in the Press-Telegram was headlined: “Coronet Cinema reopens as a fine-arts theatre”. Their first film under this new policy was Fellini’s “Amarcord”. Sometime in 1976 its name became the Paradise Theatre again and it started hosting rock bands. The owner went before the city council asking that dancing be allowed but was turned down because of noise and traffic concerns and its compatibility to the neighborhood.

It advertised regularly in the Long Beach Independent after 1977. Its program was always a double feature for only .99 cents and later $1.50. In 1978, a proposal was put before the city council to turn the theatre into a disco but again that was turned down. The Paradise’s ad, which listed the theatre at 4129 Viking Way, ran regularly in the independent theatre section of the L.A. times until June 29, 1990 when their ad read, “Call theatre for show times”. After June 29, their ad disappeared completely. The Press-Telegram said the theatre closed for good sometime during the last week of December in 1990.

An article in the January 12, 1991 issue of the Press-Telegram told of its unusual demise. It seems that a zoning enforcement officer went to the theatre and found it open with the keys on the floor. He was faced with a smashed candy case, popcorn and trash on the floor and the projector and equipment missing. When he saw exposed electrical wires coming out of the walls he locked the theatre and put a sign up warning people to stay out. His attempts to get in touch with the theatre operator or the landlord went unheeded.

In 1992 the building was taken over by Cirivello’s Sports Bar and Restaurant in order to expand their business, which had been next door since 1984. In 2007 it was still Cirivello’s but the building has had its problems. In June of 2001, the Press-Telegram reported that a split had developed in the main support beam above the bar area. Joe Picarelli, the owner, said that while the restaurant remained safe, the bar, which was located in the old theatre, would be closed for three to four weeks with repairs estimated at $30,000 to $40,000.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 2 comments)

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on March 21, 2009 at 3:14 pm

Some interior photos on the bar’s website:
http://www.picsports.com/aboutus.asp

wrcousert
wrcousert on December 2, 2011 at 4:15 pm

Bring back the Paradise Theater!

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