Laguna Theatre

250 Ocean Avenue,
Laguna Beach, CA 92651

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The Laguna Beach Historical Society says that the Aufdenkamp family originally had a silent movie theatre a block away at 255 Forest Avenue and in 1922 they opened a New Lynn Theatre on Coast Highway.

A Los Angeles Times story from April 14, 1930, said that Fred Aufdenkamp had filed suit against the city in the amount of $3,073.25. This was because the city had inadequate storm drains, which caused flood damage to the New Lynn Theatre. Aufdenkamp won his suit. It is interesting to note that by 1940 Aufdenkamp was a Laguna Beach city councilman, which included the duties of police and fire commissioner.

In early-1935 Aufdenkamp moved the New Lynn Theatre to the building on Ocean Avenue and opened it as the Lynn Ocean Avenue Theatre. This was to prepare for the construction of a new and larger Coast Highway theatre, which opened in July of 1935.

Ads from the Laguna Beach News show the Ocean Avenue Theatre remained in business even after the Coast Highway Theater reopened. Sometime after 1936 both theatres were leased to the Vincent family who renamed the New Lynn Theatre the South Coast Theatre and the Ocean Avenue Theatre the Laguna Theatre. However, in 1943 owner Ronald Vincent met an unfortunate demise, which was mentioned in Boxoffice Magazine and covered in the Los Angeles Times on January 18, 1943.

The Film Daily Yearbook of 1950-51 listed it with 374 seats but the theatre sometimes was just open seasonally during the summer months. During the 1940’s and 1950’s it appeared regularly in the LA Times Independent Theatre Guide but after October 1, 1958, their ad no longer appeared. It is not known when the building was demolished but today a bank parking lot occupies the location.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 7, 2012 at 9:03 pm

There is an inventory of historic buildings in Laguna Beach (available as a 9.8MB PDF file) put together by the state’s Department of Parks and Recreation, and it doesn’t quite match up with the information from the Laguna Beach Historical Society. The section of the document about the South Coast Theatre says that the Lynn Theatre building on Coast Highway was built in 1915.

It also says that the building itself was moved to the Ocean Avenue location so that the Lynn could continue to operate while the new theater on PCH was being built. The two lots are pretty close to each other, so the move would have been short, and it does seem plausible. Moving buildings, even large, substantial ones, was much more common then than it is now.

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