Atlantic Theater

5870 Atlantic Avenue,
Long Beach, CA 90805

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Opened in 1941, this was rather plain on the outside, its most distinguishing feature was a large tower similar to trademark of RKO-Radio Pictures that flashed with neon lights, a magnet for families in the surrounding area. It survived as a regular movie theater until December 1972. By June 1973 it was operating as an adult theater, and later went over to Chinese movies. By 1983 it had become a church. It was demolished in February, 2014.

Contributed by doug sarvis

Recent comments (view all 76 comments)

Mark Goodrich
Mark Goodrich on January 25, 2014 at 11:04 pm

Today, January 25, 2014, a ‘celebration’ was held marking the beginning of this theater’s demolition. The 1941 theater is being destroyed after many years of neglect to make way for a new library. The RKO-like spire, the theater’s terrazo floors, fountain and tile work will be incorporated into the library’s design plan. I will post some photos.

Mark Goodrich
Mark Goodrich on February 9, 2014 at 3:53 am

I just added a few new photos of the demolition. The auditorium is down.

GaryParks on March 29, 2015 at 7:17 am

Several months ago, in mid-2014, I drove out to the site of the Atlantic. Not only is the building gone without a trace, but there seems to be no sign of future development at the site, not even a sign proclaiming the construction of a library, or anything, there. I’m wondering if the neighborhood has become the victim of a development scam of some sort, a promise of a library, and preserved portions of the theatre, only to be left with nothing. I hope not. I’ll be interested to see if anyone has any news.

lemansblue69 on February 18, 2016 at 12:01 am

What happened to the tower?

GaryParks on January 20, 2017 at 4:53 am

The top part of the tower was preserved, and mounted onto the new library building, which has been completed. I do not know if any other features of the theatre were incorporated anywhere else in the new building.

Mark Goodrich
Mark Goodrich on October 14, 2017 at 12:36 am

I uploaded most of the photos now on the site for this theater and I was wondering if anyone knows approximately when the Atlantic ceased operating as a movie venue. I have looked everywhere and can’t locate a decent photo of the theater when it was in operation. Can any help or direct me? Thanks!

Mark Goodrich
Mark Goodrich on October 14, 2017 at 12:37 am

I also find it sad that I’m unable to see anything in the new library that mentions the theater at all. I expected there to be something about the history of the site…

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 14, 2017 at 2:49 am

The Atlantic was operating as a Chinese language movie house at least as late as 1983, when this photo was taken. It was pretty shabby by then. I’ve never seen a photo from the period when it was a regular movie house, or from the 1970s when it was running porn movies.

Sillyheart55 on November 5, 2017 at 6:22 pm

It’s terrible how cities don’t believe in historical value anymore. I remember that The Crest Theater was gone by 1979, then it was The Towne and now it’s the Atlantic Theater. Oh boy! They saved the spire for the new building! Sad … The people making the decisions must be under 40 years old. They think that EVERYTHING over 40 is old. They probably think the same thing of people.

cabartlvr on December 25, 2017 at 7:50 pm

Mark Goodrich – Did some research on your question about when the Atlantic stopped showing traditional movies. Last ad I have found for the Atlantic showing traditional movies was December 29, 1972. Double feature, “Greatest Story Ever Told” plus “The Ten Commandments.” Any seat any time, 99 cents, kids 49 cents. Then I find no ads for the Atlantic until June 9, 1973 which stated “Adults only, get acquainted admission $2.00.” Unfortunately I have been unable to find any photos of the Atlantic when it operated as a traditional movie house. Remember attending several “kiddie matinee” programs there back in the 1960’s. A beautiful theater but considered by most as second rate compared to the Towne & Crest Theaters.

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