Helix Theatre

7980 La Mesa Boulevard,
La Mesa, CA 91942

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peh on June 23, 2017 at 4:13 am

I remember as a kid going to the Helix on saturday for a double flix @ .50. Would get a buck from my parents, a soda and and a tub of popcorn. If we got 1.25 it was a large slurpee up the street. Good old days with Steve and the gang.

buckbeach on March 9, 2016 at 4:47 pm

Between the years 1951 and 1960 I must have went to this theater over 200-400 times. Started as a lad when we moved to La Mesa in 1950. Use to line up for the Saturday cartoon marathons wrapped 100 or so deep around the corner of the movie house. Ended in 1959 when in high school I found the Drive-in’s.

Years 1956-59 me and my friend would go to the old Palarimos pizza (just a whole in wall) buy a large $1.00 pizza each and then go to the movie costing $.50 (as a kid was $.25). remaining $.50 of my $2.00/week\ allowance went for 2 plus gallons of gas for crusing around and to drive to school for the week.

Going on 74 this year and I look back longingly at those times.


horseshoe7 on November 15, 2015 at 10:49 pm

Remember the “Cry Room” in the back?

horseshoe7 on November 15, 2015 at 10:47 pm

I went to double feature matinees in the early 70’s every weekend during the summers (the place was air conditioned!)… saw MAROONED(1969), SILENT RUNNING(1972) & SOYLENT GREEN(1973) for 75cents there.

jaylynn444 on August 8, 2014 at 11:56 am

@ Arriano: The zip codes in La Mesa changed. I grew up in La Mesa in the 70’s & 80’s, and used to live walking distance from the Helix theater – my zip code used to be 92041, which no longer exists :(

arriano on August 22, 2013 at 10:32 pm

ZIP code is wrong. Should be 91942

wschart on March 28, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I grew up within walking distance of this theater. During the early 1950s there was a Saturday afternoon matinee, typically a couple of B westerns or the like. It cost two bits to get in, and with another quarter you could buy a box of popcorn and get a soft drink from a vending machine, the kind where acup dropped down. You had a choice of three favors, probably a cola, lemon-lime, or orange, but of course we all switched the selector back and forth to produce. “suicide”. There was always a line from the box office, located on the right, around the front and along the west side.

As I got older, I would go to the night time showings, still walking. I am not sure whether or not there were first run showings, but at the least there were current films above the B level. This continued through high school and probably a bit during summers when I was home from college.

johnhermes on April 10, 2012 at 11:44 pm

I saw many, many films at the Helix as a kid and teenager in the 1960s. I remember coming around the curve of La Mesa Blvd. from El Cajon Blvd. and hoping not to see a giant line around the theater! Good times back then.

rivest266 on April 6, 2012 at 2:37 pm

This opened on September 7th, 1948. I uploaded the grand opening ad here.

jchapon5 on February 26, 2012 at 7:12 pm

I was one of the two projectionists at this theatre when it closed. What a great experience. The full time projectionist at the time told me we were going to get to show the movie “Soylent Green” to close out this grand run of this old and wonderful place. At the last moment they cancelled that and yes i do believe “Jaws” took its place. We showed “Jaws” so much i knew every scene and line of that movie by heart. The cameras were fun. Had to monitor the carbon sticks in them to make sure they did not burn down to far or….no picture. The change over from camera one to camera two was also interesting. We would get two signal marks on the main screen. The first mark was to get the camera that had the ready reel going and the second mark we watched for on the screen from the the booth was for the exchange from the camera with the used reel to the camera with the next sequenced reel. When the screen went white (no picture) a loud bell in the booth would go off to alert us. I did not need that bell, ha. You could here the boo’s from the patrons when that happened. Usually happened when a splice in the film broke more than a change over. Man, do i have some stories…………… When i was there at the end the theatre did not pack in 825 people very often but when it did or got close the place rocked. the reaction of the big crowd in there was magical. I got into acting because of that experience and am so very thankful for it.

Logan5 on July 29, 2009 at 4:07 pm

One theatergoer says he “saw ‘Jaws’ and ‘The Great Waldo Pepper’ there the last day it was open – December 4, 1976."
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kencmcintyre on December 11, 2008 at 9:15 pm

Here is an item in Boxoffice magazine, April 1950;

Contending it is impossible to continue operations profitably in view of the film rentals he must pay, Burton Jones has closed his Helix Theater in La Mesa. He has operated the 700 seat house there for several years.

kencmcintyre on April 19, 2008 at 6:22 pm

The Star Theater in La Puente, CA is one of the few quonset huts that are still around, although it too is on a short list to be demolished.

kencmcintyre on October 24, 2005 at 7:44 pm

From the UCLA Digital Collection:

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pete1g on October 25, 2004 at 5:53 pm

Address was corner of University Avenue and La Mesa Blvd, La Mesa, CA, 92104, now occupied by a neighborhood shopping center. The theater was ½ block east of the northeast corner of the intersection, now under the parking lot. In 1964 when the first regional shopping center, Grossmont Center, was built, shopowners would give away kid’s weekend matinee passes to the Helix so that parents would come shop at the Grossmont, lines around the theater would be 2 or 3 deep to see the Elvis summer films. The theater had a very small parking lot on the east side and in the rear.