Rivoli Theatre

1941 San Pablo Avenue,
Berkeley, CA 94702

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Viewing: Photo | Street View

Located in West Berkeley at San Pablo Avenue & University Avenue. The Rivoli Theatre was opened in 1926 with Marie Prevost in “Up In Mable’s Room”. It was equipped with a Hope-Jones orchestra organ and a fully equipped stage. It was still open in 1957.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 18 comments)

GaryParks on March 25, 2008 at 2:07 pm

To answer a much earlier comment that perhaps something is left of the interior of the Dimond, Oakland: Unfortunately not. It was totally gutted. Nothing but steel trusses and the wooden underside of the roof are visible. Offices fill the stage house. I would imagine that the concrete proscenium opening is still there, but stripped and hidden. The Dimond was originally Egyptian in style, with a pylon gate-like facade, but was completely remodeled Moderne in the late 30s.

I don’t know about the Granada in Oakland, also long since converted to a store. According to Jack Tillmany and Jennifer Dowling’s book, “Theatres of Oakland,” the balcony structure is gone and most other interior features are either removed or hidden.

pdossetti on April 6, 2008 at 9:32 pm

A Souvenier Program dated October 31, 1931 for the grand opening of the Merced Theatre in Merced CA also lists the Rivoli as being part of Golden State Theatre Corporation’s chain. Ward Casady is listed as being the manager of the Rivoli Theatre.

gsmurph on June 20, 2008 at 5:48 pm

Good news to report—-the 99-Cent store that’s taken over the Rivoli has kept the interior “remains” that Smart N'Final had uncovered and Longs Drugs had retained.

amende on June 7, 2010 at 9:00 pm

Now the site of a 99 Cents Only Store, this former theater is worth a visit to view the amazing painted ceilings, as well as pick up very inexpensive candy. I will have to post a photo at a later date.

gsmurph on September 22, 2010 at 1:58 pm

Must point out that the opening contribution by William Gabel mistakenly says “Rialto” rather than “Rivoli.”

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on September 22, 2010 at 2:55 pm

Wild looking theatre in 1986 picture.

LBorg on February 12, 2011 at 8:01 pm

Lawrence Borg, my Uncle, built the Rivioli in 1925. and in 1926 he bacame owner of the Parkway Theatre,Berkeley. The Rivoli and Parkway were thus sold in 1931 to the Golden State Theatre & Realty Corp., San Francisco.

It is my dream to one day soon, be able to purchase one of his theatres back that is shut down and revive it, as they did in Napa with the Uptown Theatre .

GaryParks on April 8, 2011 at 1:28 pm

Last night I got to see a single pencil-on-vellum longitudinal section drawing of the Rivoli which has been owned by a friend of mine for nearly ten years, but I hadn’t seen it as it had been in storage. The drawing (from Jorgensen’s drafting table) shows the auditorium’s ornamental scheme exactly as one sees it today—that is, what survives. The drawing also shows that there was much cove lighting. I realize now that I didn’t pay much attention to the lobby in the drawing, but it was rather low. The box down in the lower right corner names the theatre as the “West Berkeley Theatre.” Clearly, this was the proposed name at the time of its design. Perhaps the name change to Rivoli was to save money on sign design and maintenance.

Ian on March 11, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Photo from March 2000 here, showing the exterior and stage house:–


walterk on February 9, 2018 at 9:16 pm

Opening night ad and a photo that accompanied an article in the Berkeley Gazette added to the photo section

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