United Artists Theater

823 MacDonald Avenue,
Richmond, CA 94801

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United Artists Theatre 1953

Viewing: Photo | Street View

A long-lost Richmond theater.

Contributed by Garrett Murphy

Recent comments (view all 14 comments)

GaryParks on January 5, 2007 at 12:15 am

I need to add to the list of similar-facaded theatres by A.W. Cornelius the T&D in Berkeley—long since renamed the California and remodeled several times—still in operation.

GaryParks on August 21, 2007 at 12:30 am

Yes, most definitely the Richmond UA was originally the T&D (and then the Fox). I have a postcard of the facade when new, with “Blood and Sand” starring Rudolph Valentino on the marquee. I have seen photos of the facade as remodeled by Amands, and it was sort of deco, and not altogether a good, cohesive design, in my opinion. It was, however, better than the plain and flat facade which replaced it.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 9, 2008 at 10:36 pm

During WWII, photographer Dorothea Lange took numerous photographs of Richmond, most of them related to the Kaiser shipyards and their workers, but including quite a few that depicted scenes on McDonald Avenue. Today they are available in digital form as part of the Lange collection displayed online here by the Online Archives of California.

A very few of the photos depict the street’s theatres, including this one, showing the U.A. in 1942, when it was still the Fox, and also showing its next door neighbor, the Studio Theatre. Some time later the Studio was renamed the Crest, and its sign is visible just past the U.A. in the second of the two photos to which Lost Memory linked in the comment just above this one. I don’t think the Studio/Crest is listed at Cinema Treasures yet.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on January 9, 2008 at 11:52 pm

Here is a 1959 photo of MacDonald Avenue at night, with the Fox Theatre (formerly the Costa) on the left. The U.A.’s marquee would have been in the foreground on the right, but this picture was apparently taken when the theatre was being remodeled into a Woolworth store. The building is covered in scaffolding, the vertical sign is gone, and the marquee looks to have been rounded off for Woolworth’s use.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 31, 2010 at 7:28 am

My source for the name of the architect of the 1936 remodeling of this theater misspelled his surname. It should be F. Frederic Amandes.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 31, 2010 at 7:32 am

Thanks again Joe.Your research is always welcomed.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 4, 2011 at 6:27 am

The December, 1919, issue of The Architect and Engineer included a theater at Richmond for the T&D circuit among the projects slated for 1920 by the office of architect A. W. Cornelius. This house most likely opened that year. The T&D Theatre at Salinas was on the same list.

Tinseltoes on August 14, 2012 at 11:36 am

Here’s a 1915 trade ad featuring various T&D theatres of the time: archive

JohnRice on December 6, 2012 at 7:42 pm

Growing up in Richmond, the UA was the only local theatre that seemed to me like a movie palace, although certainly not a grand one like found in nearby Oakland or San Francisco. It had a balcony (closed much of the time) and when CinemaScope came along the Scope films with four channel magnetic stereo sound were pretty impressive in that big auditorium. I suppose it was my favorite theatre in Richmond, not that we had much to choose from by the mid 1950’s. A nice middle aged woman behind the concession counter would save 8 x 10 stills for me and sometimes even allow me to slip in to see a free show. Fond memories of the UA!

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