Upland Theatre

318 N. 2nd Street,
Upland, CA 91786

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In 2009 the Inland Daily Bulletin took a look back at Upland and Ontario in May of 1915. The women of Ontario were protesting “Neptune’s Daughter", starring Annette Kellerman, which they called immoral. The silent was to appear at the Euclid Photoplay in Ontario, a competitor to the Colonial Theatre in Upland. Despite the outcry and with the help of free publicity, the Photoplay was packed the first night. The Los Angeles Times also covered this story on May 20, 1915, naming the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union as the protest leaders.

Not to be outdone, the manager of the Colonial Theatre planned to show an even more daring picture, “The Hypocrites", directed by Lois Weber. In the film a statue came to life to expose a naked Margaret Edwards. There was to be a matinee for women only and the evening show with no one under 16 allowed, “because of the danger of immature minds not being able to properly understand the picture". Newspaper accounts say that this film was even banned by the censorship board in the supposedly cosmopolitan city of Los Angeles but was shown to large crowds anyway. Ironically an LA Times interview with the film’s young star, Miss. Edwards, gave her age as 16 years!

The Colonial Theatre appeared in the Suburban and Neighborhood Theatre Guide of the LA Times periodically through the 1920’s. Sometime in the early-1930’s it became listed as the Upland Theatre. An LA Times news story from October 1938, in an article unrelated to the theatre, mentions Herbert G. Adams as the owner. The Film Daily Yearbook of 1940 listed the theater as having 400 seats.

On February 19, 1948 the Upland Theatre listing read “Closed". The theater may have been open longer than 1948 as it is listed in the 1950-51 FDY. The demolition date is unknown and presently the site is a bank parking lot. Relevant comments can be found under the Grove Theatre in Upland.

Contributed by Ron Pierce

Recent comments (view all 1 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on February 20, 2014 at 10:58 pm

The November 7, 1914, issue of Southwest Contractor & Manufacturer ran an item about an addition to the Lyric Theatre in Upland. The addition was to be 34x50 feet, and the theater was to get a new pressed brick front, marble and tile lobby, and other improvements as well. The $4,500 project was designed by Los Angeles architect Homer W. Glidden.

I wonder if the Lyric got a new name along with the remodeling job? The Colonial/Upland Theatre might be the same house.

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