Granada Theatre

618 Kentucky Street,
Bakersfield, CA 93305

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The Granada

The Granada Theatre opened on January 31, 1929 with Bebe Daniels in “What a Night”.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 17 comments)

JohnSpradley on August 17, 2005 at 12:55 pm

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johnnyicons on November 9, 2007 at 6:38 pm

My dad, who was Mexican, would take me almost every Friday night to see the mostly Mexican movies. This was in the late 50’s and 60’s. I remember the interior theater walls having some kind of raised relief scuptures. I wonder if they are still there? Anybody know. Does anyone have photos of these designs?

kencmcintyre on November 9, 2007 at 7:49 pm

These photos are recent, so you may not be able to see the designs you mentioned above:

johnnyicons on November 10, 2007 at 4:35 pm

Thanks for the above link. I do see (on the left-hand side) one of the designs. I can only hope the rest were preserved.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on May 14, 2008 at 7:03 am

The L.A. Public Library misidentifies this 1928 photo as being of the California Theatre in Bakersfield. Given the Moorish detailing, suitable for a theatre called the Granada, I wonder if perhaps it actually depict this house. The size and shape of the facade is a good match for that of the Granada, which can be seen on this page as it looked long after its 1950 remodeling.

sawoodman on July 25, 2008 at 4:26 pm

The Kern County Museum has an image of the Granada Theatre in Bakersfield:$1296

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 12, 2008 at 6:38 am

The photo to which Clara linked on July 25 clearly depicts the same building in the L.A. Library photo to which I linked on May 13. The distinctively-shaped attic vents above the arched windows to the sides are a dead giveaway.

JosephF on June 8, 2010 at 10:06 pm

@Joe Vogel: The photo you posted is, in my estimation, an early, if not original, depiction of the Granada Theater. According to an article in the Bakersfield Californian (1928 September 20, p. 11) construction of the theater had only just begun, and was to be completed by January 1, 1929. An article on January 30, 1929 states the theater was to open the following day (a Thursday), showing Bebe Daniels' film “What a Night.” While in 1928 it was planned to cost only $55,000, it turned out costing $20,000 more. The theater was owned by H.H. Brown, who, the article says, was a prominent apartment owner in this East Bakersfield neighborhood, and leased by Josephine and Paul Davini (later owners, I believe). It sat 754 people, giving it the largest seating capacity on a single floor of any theater in the city. It also featured a “crying room,” where mothers could take their babies so as not to disturb other guests, and a men’s lounge and smoking room. It was built in brick, with a stucco siding. This 1929 article provides more detail about decorations used. The architectural firm Symmes & Cullimore prepared plans for the building, which was done in a “Morisco-Spanish style.” William Eissler was the general contractor. Store display rooms were to be located on either side of the entrance. The 1928 and 1929 articles include a drawing (presumably by the architects) of the building, which looks strikingly like the “1928” photo you posted (it seems likely that the LAPL photo is dated incorrectly). A 1929 photo in a full-page ad for the opening of the theater (1929 January 30, p. 5) depicts the theater without the store window awnings and without the top sign, but otherwise very similar. I hope this helps.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on June 11, 2010 at 2:43 am

JosephF: The information you provided is very helpful indeed. Learning the names of the architects led me to several interesting discoveries.

According to an item in the November, 1927, issue of the trade publication Architect & Engineer, Edwin J. Symmes and Clarence Cullimore had just formed their partnership, so the Granada was probably one of their first collaborations. The firm of Symmes & Cullmore designed a number of buildings in the San Joaquin Valley, many of them public schools. Symmes died in 1935, but Cullimore appears to have returned to an individual practice in 1932, designing primarily residential buildings after that. He was also noted for his research into the architecture and building of the Spanish and Mexican periods in California, which led to his 1948 book, Adobes of Santa Barbara.

This page at the web site of the Kern County Museum includes a partial list of buildings designed by Symmes and Cullimore, individually and in partnership. There are no theaters listed other than the Granada. The page also has a link to a small photo of the Granada ca.1941.

Google Documents provides an 2004 article called Spohn’s Old Granada Theatre, by Carla LaFong and Gilbert Gia. It includes a few period photos, history, and a fairly detailed description of the Granada at the time the article was written. The article can also be downloaded in pdf format from Gilbert Gia’s web site (follow the “persons” link.)

Walnut Hill Productions featured the Granada’s hybrid Robert Morgan/Wurlitzer theater organ on its web site in August, 2007. In addition to numerous photos and technical information, the page includes links to downloadable recordings made on the Granada organ.

rivest266 on August 10, 2012 at 12:03 am

January 31st, 1929 grand opening ad uploaded here.

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