Uptown Theatre

2316 E. Colorado Boulevard,
Pasadena, CA 91107

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Uptown Theatre exterior

Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in the Lamanda Park district of East Pasadena, the Warners Egyptian Theatre opened May 6, 1925, for vaudeville and movies and was built for and operated by Henry Warner. Theatre operator Henry Warner was not related to the famed Warner Bros. The theatre opened with an Egyptian style theme, which is retained today. Seating was provided all on one level, with no balcony.

Later renamed Uptown Theatre, it closed in the early 1980’s. The lobby area was converted into retail use as an antique furniture store, with the auditorium used for storage.

In the early-2000’s, the building was leased by a new operator, who planned to restore and re-open it as the Oasis Theatre. Repairs and redecoration work was carried out and some new seating was being fitted when the project came to an abrupt end, due to disputes which occured between the lessee and the building’s owners.

Since then it has remained shuttered and unused. It now remains one of Pasadena’s most endangered buildings. The original 1925 fire curtain, with original local advertisements painted on its front, still remains in situ.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 28 comments)

OasisTheatre2008
OasisTheatre2008 on April 15, 2009 at 3:48 pm

Thanks to Tami Strong of Bisbee, Arizona the original signage of the “Warner Egyptian” at 2316 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA. has been rediscovered. Her grandfather was the theater manager in the late twenties and early thirties. The link at
View link
will show the marquee as it appeared in 1931. Although blurry the large roof sign displayed a colorful “Chariot of Ramses” scene atop
the original electric sign. The tall brick facade behind the theater
vertical sign fell years ago in an earthquake and was leveled to the existing roof line. If you have more information on this historical theater or old photos you can share contact Jim Perry (626) 524-2014
or email to

OasisTheatre2008
OasisTheatre2008 on April 15, 2009 at 3:59 pm

If the above link does not work for the Warner Egyptian signage try this one at http://www.chosenfew.com/musicvideo/egyptian.jpg
Enjoy. Jim Perry

OasisTheatre2008
OasisTheatre2008 on April 17, 2009 at 4:05 pm

Found the original signage for the Warner Egyptian courtesy of Tami Strong of Bisbee, Arizona. http://www.chosenfew.com/WARNEREG.jpg
Had to do some retouching to enhance visibility of the marquee and
signage. This is from 1931 showing of “The Cheat” starring Tallulah
Bankhead. Enjoy. Jim Perry

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on April 17, 2009 at 5:20 pm

The link didn’t work for me.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 23, 2010 at 5:05 pm

The description currently says that this theater originally presented movies and vaudeville, but I remember the building quite well and it had no stage house. Despite its fairly lavish proscenium, I don’t think the stage was very deep, and it certainly had no fly tower. The theater was built as a movie house, and its minimal stage facilities could have accommodated only the simplest live events.

However, there is enough room at the back of the lot that a proper stage house could be added on to the building, should anyone with very deep pockets want to convert the place into a regular live theater— though in a town that was unable to save the Raymond Theatre, which already had a generous stage, I don’t know who would want to make such a commitment to the old Egyptian.

William
William on August 16, 2011 at 8:32 pm

The picture on this thread is not the theatre. The Google map shot (2011) shows the night shot of were the theatre is located.

Tinseltoes
Tinseltoes on July 21, 2012 at 10:38 am

Renovations described in this 1964 trade article: Boxoffice

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 21, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I was never in the Uptown after the 1964 renovation, but I don’t think there were any significant changes to the auditorium. I saw a couple of movies there in 1962, and it looked pretty much as it does in the photos on the CinemaTour page, except for the paint job. In 1962 it was all quite dark.

RickB
RickB on December 5, 2013 at 6:42 pm

Hometown Pasadena tells the story of the Egyptian/Uptown from 1925 to 1936 in “Mrs. Fenyes and the Movies,” Part 3 and Part 4.

AndrewBarrett
AndrewBarrett on April 24, 2014 at 9:23 pm

“The Encyclopedia of the American Theatre Organ” by David L. Junchen, page 628, lists a “Pasadena Theatre” in Pasadena, California, as having a three manual Smith theatre pipe organ.

No other details, such as # of ranks or installation date, are given.

I could not find a “Pasadena Theatre” listed on this site right now (April 2014) but this has a fairly close name. However, according to Lost Memory, the “Pasadena Photoplay Theatre” (listed on its own page) apparently had only about 350 seats, and most three-manual theatre organs had at least ten ranks.

The largest known Smith organs were both 4 manuals and 16 ranks, so that this organ in question was probably between 10 and 14 ranks, or so.

This is quite large for a little 350-seat theatre, since most theatres of this size either had a photoplayer (such as those made by American Photo Player Co, or Wurlitzer) or simply a person playing the piano, or, if an organ, nothing larger than about six or seven ranks (and thus, two manuals). Thus, I think it is unlikely that the aforementioned house is the same theatre mentioned in the book.

Does anybody know more about this instrument, or a larger “Pasadena Theatre?” in Pasadena?

Thanks!

NOTE: I also think the Egyptian/Uptown opened at the right time, and was probably of the right size, to have had such an organ, so I’m also putting this here for the time being.

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