Teatro Puerto Rico

Avenida Ponce de Leon,
San Juan

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Teatro Puerto Rico

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Interesting theater that was part of the Cobian-Wometco theater chain. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, it specialized in horror movies. Many of the Peter Cushing-Christopher Lee-Vincent Price movies played here.

Because of the type of movies it played, the Puerto Rico had some of the coolest (to a ten year old) lobby displays in town. I distinctly remember the one for "Frogs" featuring a giant frog with a human hand sticking out of its mouth. Also the one for "When Dinosaurs Ruled the Earth" featuring a life size Victoria Vetri.

During the early 1980’s, the Puerto Rico showed more mainstream fare such as "Rambo". It was one of the last Santurce cinemas to close down, in the late 1980’s.

It was briefly revived in the early 1990’s as a double bill theater, long after this kind of movie house had practically disappeared. It was not a sucessful idea and the Puerto Rico closed down for good.

It was later turned into a disco called Asylum which was a trendy place for a while. Currently its a disco called "EL Teatro". Recently I visited it and the lobby, carpeting was the same as in the former theater. Quite a nostalgic sight.

To this generation, the Puerto Rico theater is a fun place to dance, but to someone growing up in the 70’s, it will always be "the place" to see scary movies.

Contributed by Jose Mendez

Recent comments (view all 12 comments)

skankypepe on July 15, 2005 at 6:58 pm

hey Jose how are you? where you able to get in during the day? where you able to take any pictures

Andres on December 29, 2005 at 6:18 am

Any pictures of the inside? I went into the website several times (www.elteatropuertorico.com) but it was under construction and now the web shows the Club Lazer in Old San Juan. The pictures are of club customers, nothing on the Puerto Rico. Andres.

cineast on October 8, 2006 at 10:36 pm

Many big movies played at the Puerto Rico on Ponce de Leon Avenue. One of the most popular and modern theatres of the metropolitan area in the 1960’s, the 1970’s and into the 1980’s. Among them “Carrie,” “Airport 1975,” “Burnt Offerings,” “Ruby,” “Flashdance,” and “Lucky Lady” just to name a few. It had a long and narrow rectangular marquee, and inside it had a mezzanine. The center window of the lobby always had a 3D display of the movie, which gave the passerby something to look at. Outside, like the Paramount, it had a big mural with the artwork of the film’s poster. The auditorium had, on both side walls, a series of abstract modern sculptures, that looked like birds in flight or airplane wings. These decorative sculptures went, gradually, from small (at the back of the theatre) to medium to big (at the front, close to the screen.) I wonder if this interior decor was preserved or not, when it was converted into a club and who designed them. I’m sure that when the Puerto Rico opened in the 1960’s, that decor was all the rage in modernism. Now, like the theatre itself, they’re priceless vintage.

RMB on November 9, 2006 at 12:52 pm

About the origins of the Cine Puerto Rico on Ponce de Leon Avenue; it goes back to 1925, when it was built by as a silent movie house by renowned architect, Pedro De Castro for “United Theater”. Owner was Lloveras and the Architectural Style and facade was Art Déco. For the first decades of the century it was considered as one of San Juan’s finest.

abaerga on July 8, 2008 at 4:11 pm

El Teatro Puerto Rico. I remember a Host by the name of Freedie Baez.
Who would introduce the star of Puerto Rico or Latin America back in the 1970’s. I saw Iris Chacon, La lupe, Tito Puente, El Puma, along with tons of Cowboy movies. I was located by brook ave. It is now another Universal church of Christ.

RMB on July 9, 2008 at 8:00 pm

This Teatro Puerto Rico is in Santurce, Puerto Rico. Lacated in Ponce de Leon Avenue and Lloeveras St. Retro must be remembering the famous Puerto Rico in New York City.

AGRoura on June 13, 2010 at 8:41 pm

Renewing link.

foxmetro1 on November 7, 2011 at 3:09 pm

Hi Andy-

Let’s have lunch

Stephen 212 492 6949

joseangel on February 7, 2013 at 8:28 pm

I remember seeing so many movies there.“The Spy Who Loved Me”, “Rambo”,“Inside Moves” “Willard” and countless Hammer horror movies.

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