Rosemead Theatre

1629 E. Valley Boulevard,
Rosemead, CA 91770

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lincbond442
lincbond442 on February 14, 2012 at 12:15 am

I’ve lived in the area since 1977 so I do not remember the original Rosemead Theater. Based on what I have seen and read, it used to stand where the Carl’s Jr now stands across the street from the new Fresh n Easy. I do remember the Rosemead 4 Cinema that used to be in Rosemead Square right next to the 10 fwy. It is now used as the Halloween store every October. Back in the 80’s I used to go to the Thrifty’s next door and buy 15 cent ice cream cones. There was also a Winchells donut shop and a record store nearby.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 22, 2011 at 4:57 pm

The three most recent comments on this page are actually about AMC’s Rosemead 4 Cinemas, not the much earlier Rosemead Theatre, which closed almost twenty years before the AMC was opened.

jmarellano
jmarellano on August 2, 2010 at 12:18 pm

The Levitz / Toys R Us was not torn down. It is the same building. The front of the building is the same as the Toys R Us when it was remodeled prior to closing.

shilo07
shilo07 on August 2, 2010 at 10:53 am

they torn down the levitt’s store and replaced with a ufc gym.

Emeraldlorraine
Emeraldlorraine on December 28, 2009 at 9:07 pm

I worked at the Rosemead 4 Theatre from June 1974 till Easter 1975. I let on I was a year older (16 instead of 15) yet in 1975 the union wanted verification of everyone who worked there. Opps! The box office got robbed the night I was meant to work a double shift yet I had gone on a date to see David Bowie’s Diamond Dogs concert at the Universal Amphitheatre. The manager’s face got a knife slice due to his delay in trying to open the safe. I used to eat free popcorn in a paper bag and drink Dr. Pepper in my own cup during breaks while rewatching ‘Gone With The Wind’. Great memories.

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 4, 2008 at 10:29 pm

Here is a page from a 1944 map book, Los Angeles county. On the bottom left, you can see that Valley Boulevard is 1600 near Rosemead. Joe’s 1964 map corresponds with this.
http://tinyurl.com/5pltmq

Coperow
Coperow on January 6, 2007 at 5:52 pm

Tom Davidson is correct. The Rosemead Theatre was located a few hundred feet east of Rosemead Blvd., on the north side of Valley Blvd. I viewed many movies on its screen during the mid-1940s. Television in the late 1940s killed its business, as it did that of many small town theatres, but it was a lingering death. The Rosemead theatre building was turned into a Jax Market.

Fletcher Aviation business park didn’t affect the theatre’s business during my time as that large land area was the Rosemead Airport. The Rosemead airport catered to small aircraft as did Alhambra snd El Monte airports.

Wayne Collier

tom1davidson
tom1davidson on September 21, 2005 at 12:08 pm

There definitely was a Edwards Rosemead Theater on Valley! It was located approximately one block from the intersection of Valley and Rosemead Blvd. Heading toward El Monte, on Valley, it would have been on the same side of the street as Pap Oden’s Union 76 Station and Al’s barber shop. In approximately 1953 it became Jax Market.

The first time we shopped at Jax Market the shopping cart started to roll toward the back of the store. I asked my mother why the floor sloped and she replied that the building was originally the Rosemead Theater and they didn’t change the building much. If you looked at the covered entrance you could see reminants of the original marquee.

I have no idea why Edwards put a theater in sparsely populated Rosemead or how long the theater was in operation. Maybe Edwards was expecting a building boom or expansion of Fletcher Aircraft.

I am glad that I found this site, but saddened by the loss of some of the fantastic theaters of my youth. I have not been to Rosemead since the late 70’s and by all accounts there have been quite a few changes.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 26, 2004 at 7:30 pm

I have come across more information about this theater. Southwest Builder and Contractor, issue of 8/19/1938, says that Edward Goral had received the contract from the Edwards Company to remodel an existing building at 1629 E. Valley Boulevard, Rosemead, to accommodate a movie theater designed by S.Charles Lee.

That the theater was built in a pre-existing building makes it more likely that the structure itself still exists, and was merely returned to retail use after the theater closed sometime in the early 1950s. The address would be different now, due to the change in the numbering system used in Rosemead.

Charles Goral was the same contractor who added the Annex to Edwards' Alhambra Theatre (later Alhambra Twin) in 1940.

mattepntr
mattepntr on November 12, 2004 at 11:06 pm

Have to comment on the AMC Rosemead 4-plex. You’re right. Nothing special. But as an impressionable kid, I went over and over again to see “The Poseidon Adventure” here (they ran it seemingly forever).This movie kindled in me a lifelong love of the movies, and I now work in the industry. I can attribute this interest directly to all those afternoons spent watching that model ship roll over again and again. Sometimes big things happen in the most unlikely of places!

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 6, 2004 at 11:10 pm

I had considered that block as a possible location, but I have found an old map which, though its copyright date is 1964 (quite a few years after the street numbers were changed in South San Gabriel), still shows the old numbering system (with east-west numbers beginning at Del Mar Avenue in San Gabriel) that was once used in Rosemead. It shows the 1600 block as beginning at Rosemead Boulevard. So, unless the map is wrong, the theater must have been just a few doors east of that intersection.

I am wondering about the large, free-standing bank (or savings and loan?) building that I remember being at the south-east corner. It had an early 1960’s style, but I have no memory of just when it was built, or of what was on that corner before then. It’s possible that the theater was at the eastern end of that large corner lot, which I think extended quite a way down Valley Boulevard. That might be far enough to account for an address of 1629.

Also, I think that the shopping center between Bartlett and Muscatel was built either in 1964 or 1965. The supermarket was an Alpha Beta, and I remember that it was built almost at the same time as the Alpha Beta on Garvey at the corner of Jackson. I lived on Jackson at the time, and remember being a little bit envious of the center on Valley, because it was bigger and better designed than the one on my corner.

jmarellano
jmarellano on November 6, 2004 at 10:17 pm

Another possibility is that this theatre was torn down in the 70’s or 80’s when they built the shopping centre on Muscatel and Valley (where the supermarket is/was), since there are a lot of old buildings still existant between Muscatel and Mission. I drove by tonight but it was too dark to see.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 5, 2004 at 3:29 am

Joe:

I have posted the address and details of the Garvey Theatre in that listing of Cinema Treasures.

Regarding the details for the Rosemead Theatre, I can only give you what I have here in print. I live in the UK so am not familier with the locality as you or Jeff are. Hopefully someone else can shed more light on this.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 4, 2004 at 11:03 pm

Jeff:

Between Rosemead and Mission is probably right. It would be hard to pin down an exact location around there though, because the blocks are so long, and thus there are no cross streets to mark the separation between 1600-1700-1800 blocks, etc.

I remember that section of Valley Boulevard, between Charlotte Avenue and the Rubio Wash, where the north side of the street is in the City of San Gabriel, and the south side is in the City of Rosemead. There used to be a big home improvement store called Ole’s on the Rosemead side of the street. I don’t remember the exact address, but I think it was about 8400. Right across the street was one of those outlet stores, and its address was only about 1000. It was confusing.

jmarellano
jmarellano on November 4, 2004 at 6:53 pm

8900 block is where the old toytown used to be in Rosemead. That was just one block west of Rosemead blvd at muscatel. Oddly enough, the 1000 block shares number with San Gabriel. If this was the case, then the 1600 block of Rosemead would have been around here if not a block east, where “downtown” rosemead is located. Im thinking the theatre had to be located between Mission Dr and Rosemead on valley.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 4, 2004 at 5:16 pm

Ken:

My oldest map of the Rosemead area (dating from about 1950, itself) shows no address on Valley Boulevard lower than the 8200 block. The current address of the Rosemead City Hall is 8833 E. Valley, so the L.A. County numbering system has been used there for at least half a century. The only way the theater could have had an address of 1629 E. Valley is if the area had once been on the numbering system of the City of San Gabriel, instead. If that were the case, then (extrapolating from current San Gabriel addresses) the theater would have probably been just east of Rosemead Boulevard, on the south side of Valley. But, by 1953, the earliest I can be sure of my memories of the neighborhood) there was no theater anywhere near there- not even an abandoned theater, and it certainly wasn’t appearing in the theater listings of the local newspaper by that time.

Incidentally, do either of those yearbooks give an address for the Garvey theater, or its seating capacity? I wasn’t able to give either exact number in my post here on that theater, nor do I know the exact year of its construction, though I know it was about 1940.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on November 4, 2004 at 5:51 am

There is a Rosemead Theatre listed for Rosemead, CA in the Film Daily Yearbook 1941. No seating capacity is quoted, so this could be that the theatre had only just been constructed/opened? By 1950 the FDY lists the Rosemead Theatre, 1629 E. Valley Boulevard, Rosemead, CA. Seating capacity 713.

The Rosemead 4 Theatres built by AMC in 1971 should be a seperate entry on Cinema Treasures.

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on November 4, 2004 at 5:41 am

Joe, Both the El Rey and the Alhambra were done in by the Whittier quake. I lived in Valencia at the time of the Northridge quake and was one of the unfortunates trapped up there when the freeway collapsed. Both of the theaters were gone before we moved. Toys R Us was closed by mid 2002, see my earlier post above. AMC has returned though with a new multiplex in a new section of Santa Anita Mall, along with Barnes & Noble and Sports Chalet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 3, 2004 at 8:00 pm

Jeff:

Thanks for the information. I moved from Rosemead to Northern California just a few months before the Whittier Narrows earthquake, and didn’t know that there had been any damage to that shopping center. I remember seeing on a television newscast ath the time a brief shot of the old Alhambra on Main Street with its roof caved in and half the stage house turned into a pile of bricks. I think that the El Rey in Alhambra was destroyed by the same quake, but I’m not sure. It might have been the Northridge quake that did that one in.

I only went to the AMC once, a couple of years after it opened. It was unimpressive. The theaters were small, and the walls between them were so thin that the sound from the movies in the adjacent rooms would bleed through. It’s probably just as well that they are gone.

jmarellano
jmarellano on November 3, 2004 at 6:25 pm

The AMC was torn down after the 1987 quake. I heard it suffered quake damage as the a result of the Whittier quake whos epicentre was located less than a mile away. It was replaced with some stores and a Kids R Us, which closed in 2004. Today its an Office Depot. This theatre was a standard 4plex AMC opened. It looked nothing special.

The Toys R Us closed in 2003. It was freestanding and located west of the Square. Its now a Levitz Furniture.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 3, 2004 at 6:14 pm

William:

I have two comments. First, the four screen AMC Rosemead was opened in early 1971. (I have a copy of the L.A. Times from February 10th of that year, which I saved because it is full of articles about the Sylmar earthquake which occurred the day before. An ad in the theater section of that issue gives the program for the grand opening of the theater.) This theater was located on the east side of Rosemead Boulevard, at the end of a row of retail shops in the Montgomery Ward shopping center. The Toys-R-Us store, a freestanding building built at almost the same time as the theater, was on the west side of Rosemead boulevard, directly across the street, and that’s where it still was in 1986, the last time I was in Rosemead. Unless Toys-R-Us later moved to the AMC’s location, then the AMC was in an entirely different building.

Second, I have seen the mention of the earlier Rosemead theater on the web site about S.Charles Lee. However, I grew up in the area, and by 1953, when I was eight years old, was familiar with every theater in the area. I can say conclusively that, at that time, there was no theater in what was then Rosemead- not even a building that showed any evidence of ever having been a theater. My father also grew up in that area, and attended Muscatel School in Rosemead during the early 1920’s, and he has no memory of any theaters in the then-sparsely-populated area between Alhambra and El Monte during that time. The very first theater built in what is now Rosemead was the Garvey, dating from about 1940. After that, the next theater built in Rosemead was the AMC.

What I am wondering is if the Lee designed theater in Rosemead was only one of those projects that never got past the planning stage. One other possibility comes to mind, too. At the time the Garvey was gutted by a fire, about 1950, I remember my mother telling me that there had been arson fires in several other theaters owned by Edwards in the area. I suppose it is possible that the Rosemead theater was begun, but destroyed by fire before completion, and never rebuilt. But I think I might have heard of such an event, so it seems more likely that the place was never built at all.

A third possibility is that the Rosemead and the Garvey are the same theater, but the company had for some reason decided to build it in a different location (perhaps a real estate deal falling through) and it was renamed, but S. Charles Lee’s records didn’t get changed to reflect this.

My curiosity is aroused, and I’d like to find out the real story behind this phantom theater. I wish the Lee web site would post some of the information about it.

Manwithnoname
Manwithnoname on August 7, 2002 at 11:41 am

Toys R Us is also now closed.

William
William on August 5, 2002 at 8:31 am

The Rosemead Theatre was a single screen house. But the AMC part of the above info, goes to the Rosemead 4 plex which is now a Toy-R-Us store, located near the 10 freeway. The other Rosemeadis gone.