Uptown Theatre

2316 E. Colorado Boulevard,
Pasadena, CA 91107

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Showing 1 - 25 of 27 comments

mikehume on September 22, 2018 at 10:45 pm

A photo of this theatre is featured in the 15 May 1926 edition of “Exhibitors Herald”, held by the Museum of Modern Art Library in New York and scanned online by the Internet Archive. https://archive.org/details/exhibitorsherald25unse

AndrewBarrett on April 24, 2014 at 7:23 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?


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.

RickB on December 5, 2013 at 4:42 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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 21, 2012 at 2:31 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.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 23, 2010 at 3:05 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.

kencmcintyre on April 17, 2009 at 3:20 pm

The link didn’t work for me.

OasisTheatre2008 on April 17, 2009 at 2:05 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

OasisTheatre2008 on April 15, 2009 at 1:59 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 on April 15, 2009 at 1:48 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

kencmcintyre on April 3, 2009 at 11:06 am

Here is an August 1962 ad from the Pasadena Independent:

Droog on April 25, 2008 at 2:23 am

Thanks for the photos Jim, I had posted above that I had worked in one of the stores there, I loved that theater, it was just storage, all the seats were removed and the original signs for shops and .10 cent ice cream hung in tatters from the stage… I also remember the ceiling being cracked, it looks like someone tried some restoration of it, what is the story of that?

OasisTheatre2008 on April 24, 2008 at 5:57 pm

The Oasis Theatre project died a few years ago when the landlords and I got into litigation over the property. If you get the chance to deal with Iranians…..don’t. There is a good reason why this auditorium has remained vacant for over five years.

Here are a few photos both old and new from 1928 to 2003. It’s a shame that this Pasadena historical interior can’t be saved. I have a few thousand photos and original PR headshots of the silent screen stars that appeared here over the years.

Jim Perry (626) 524-2014

View link

Timetraveler on April 7, 2008 at 2:05 pm

This Pasadena theater is very endangered. Please send emails and letters to the Pasadena Mayor and City Council that you wish it to be saved from destruction. Go to www.cityofpasadena.net to find the email and physical addresses.

Patsy on July 5, 2007 at 12:48 pm

There has been a group of persons spearheaded by a gal named Gina who has tried to save the Raymond against a local man named Buchanan.

Timetraveler on July 5, 2007 at 11:27 am

We need to find a person or united group of persons to purchase all the condominiums and commercial space inside the Raymond Theatre so the auditorium space can be restored and the theatre reopened as a public space, owned by the person or groups. Please check Raymondtheatre.com for information on purchasing the auditorium space.

Patsy on July 5, 2007 at 11:16 am

I wonder what the status of the Raymond Theatre also located in Pasadena is today?

Timetraveler on July 5, 2007 at 10:21 am

We need to cross reference this information under the three names that this cinema is known under: Warner Egyptian Theatre, Uptown Theatre, Oasis Theatre, 2316 E. Colorado Boulevard, Pasadena, CA, United States. This theatre is under extreme threat. Please email me for information about a movement to save and restore historic theatres in Pasadena.

Lynnie on November 4, 2006 at 5:02 pm

I called the real estate office that had the theatre for lease and a few THSA members including myself were allowed inside to tour. The Auditorium is intact except the seats are gone. The Egytian designs still are there and the old fire curtain had painted advertisements for businessess in Pasadena during the 20’s. This is a cool little theatre. Yes the front lobby and snack bar were converted to retail space sometime ago….using it as a theatre again would be near impossible according to the city codes, need certain number of parking spaces now…the projection room has nothing left in it, the bathrooms were remodeled but in disrepair. God knows where the original sign “UPTOWN” went….I went to the movies there in the early ninties or late eighties when it was playing revival films. The for lease sign was taken down over six months ago and there has been nothing done to the theatre still.

Droog on October 25, 2006 at 6:07 pm

BTW if you type the address into google maps, and hybrid for satalite view, you can still see the theater going north to south.

Droog on October 25, 2006 at 6:04 pm

I dont know how it is now, I worked at a computer store in the location in the early mid/90s, it had been sectioned off into shops, but that theater area remained, our upstairs storage area was the projectionist booth, nothing special, painted floor, a cover over the projection window, the theater area was beautiful in a neglected forgotten past kind of way, if I remember painted ceilings, lots of cracks, the stage area still had banners for ice cream for .10 cents. I wish I had taken a camera and explored it. What is the status of this place now?

Patsy on October 24, 2005 at 11:41 am

Since the Uptown Theatre is listed in Pasadena I’m sure anyone posting on this theatre link is also aware of the Raymond Theatre in Pasadena. The Raymond is in it’s 11th hour so anyone who would like to show their support to save this historical theatre please come to a Final Design Review hearing on Monday, the 24th at 7 (All Saints Church, Sweetland Hall 132 N. Euclid). To learn more about the Raymond Theatre and its past/present history go to www.raymondtheatre.com Thank you.

Lynnie on May 3, 2005 at 1:51 pm

J.H. Woodworth and Son at 200 E. Colorado Blvd. Pasadena was the firm that Kenneth A. Gordon worked for. As far as I know he was the principle at the office. The home town paper, Eagle Rock Sentinel, dated Friday 4/26/29, has an article about the firm building the Yosmite/Eagle theatre in Eagle Rock. Both gentlemens names are quoted in the article. Copy of the article is located at in the archives of the Eagle Rock Historical Society. Please update your files on the three theatres that were built by Mr. Gordon to reflect that the firm is now know. The Pasadena Museaum of History has not information on this theatre, I have checked. As far as restoration, the theatre has been for sale for a couple of years now and no work has been done on it. If you go by and look in the windows, you can see old movie posters on the side walls.