Cove Theatre

7730 Girard Avenue,
La Jolla, CA 92037

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Showing 25 comments

mckay01 on July 31, 2015 at 5:51 pm

I just learned from your comments that Spence had died. He was a good person. I knew him only as a patron – kid matinees and with Mom and Dad when they took me with them. It didn’t matter when, he’d stand at the door and greet you by name. For me, going to the theatre was a treat, primarily because I’d receive a personal greeting. It didn’t matter that everyone received the same greeting. ——– Good times gone but remembered.

monika on May 8, 2012 at 4:31 pm

I learned this week of the passing of longtime Cove manager Spencer Wilson. I was lucky to know him.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on July 27, 2010 at 10:06 pm

Yes,A nice story,the kind we need on CT.

TLSLOEWS on May 11, 2010 at 3:34 pm

Nice story David.

kirbside on May 11, 2010 at 3:10 pm

My memories of the Cove date back to 1960 while a student at LJHS. I had smuggled a six-pack in and sat in the back right side (as entering the theater). Burt Lancaster’s bigger than life performance of “Elmer Gantry” was on the big screen and I being of great immaturity sat there thinking “so, this is the religious life? Who needs it” and proceeded to roll my empties down the aisles until I was uncerimoniously asked to leave with my Windansea cohorts.
I graduated in ‘63 and left La Jolla at the end of that summer following my folks to Orange County. No way could I live there on my box boy salary from Mayfair Market on Pearl Street. And the following year a fellow student stopped me on the campus at Fullerton College to take a religious survey. It was a turning point in my life that took me from a life without purpose into a very deep and meaningful religious life, despite the memories of Elmer.
Dave Kirby
LJHS Class of '63

sparty on November 18, 2009 at 2:27 am

monika, your comments sound like you worked or ran this theatre. i have some questions for you about the history of the theatre and its closing for a project that i am working on. if you would mind emailing me at , i would be appreciative.

stellamaris56 on September 2, 2009 at 3:53 am

Who ever was behind closing down the La Jolla Cove Theatre should be arrested and in prison. La Jolla will never be the same again!

monika on March 26, 2009 at 2:03 pm

They did level it for retail, and made sure that in no way did it resemble the place where a theatre may have once stood. It became a very stark and airy furniture store. The roof (which was barely there anyway!) was replaced with skylights and the floor leveled and done in wood. I have a photograph of it somewhere, not on the computer unfortunately.

I did, however, upload a couple lobby and entrance photographs to my Flickr page, inspired by this discussion:

monika on March 26, 2009 at 12:52 pm

The lobby was expanded, marble foyer added, and mens and women’s rooms added just inside the (new) front doors. The 1963 photo shows window frames on the second floor, that is actually the wall of the projection booth. After the renovation and addition of the two adjacent storefronts a hallway to an above apartment space was added between the booth and the new marquee.

The Cove’s lobby after the renovation, and until it closed and was destroyed, was wood and mirror paneled and not that appealing. I agree, Chuck, that the original was nicer. The need for a larger concession space was likely the impetus for the “modern” expansion.

monika on March 25, 2009 at 6:39 pm

Posting to get this theatre back on my “notifications” list….

monika on February 8, 2009 at 8:15 pm

Cardiffrfc, I was unable to find the listings you are looking for. I am unsure if the records from 1983-1988 are available at all. You may try to contact the Landmark Theatres home office in Los Angeles, it’s a stretch but maybe someone there would be willing to help you.

BlueLizard876 on February 3, 2009 at 6:48 pm

This theater was a true gem. To bad its gone. At least we still have the Ken and the La Paloma.

monika on January 19, 2009 at 10:30 pm

I may have those dates in one of the Cove’s ledgers that I have. I will look and get back to you either way.

TomWolf on January 19, 2009 at 10:21 pm

Monika, Is there any way to get a list of the titles shown at the theatre from say 1983 to 1988?

monika on January 18, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Cardiffrfc, perhaps you may recognize the title here, if they happen to have it:
View link
I’ll continue to look for the name.

TomWolf on January 18, 2009 at 11:26 am

Does anyone know the name of the documentary film that was shown in the 70’s? that was about a retired LA fire captain and his family that sailed to Cocos island. It was shown at the La Jolla Cove theatre.

monika on November 16, 2008 at 7:49 pm

Here is a 1963 photo of the Cove, before the lobby was extended:
View link

monika on December 27, 2006 at 9:20 pm

Ken MC, you’ve linked to a photo of myself! Mike Myers took those pictures within days of the theatre’s closing.

LaJollalover on March 23, 2006 at 2:02 am

CLosing down the Cove Theatre was the biggest mistake ever made. This place was a classic and a landmark. Generation after generation worked their at their first job and the dedication of Spencer Wilson can never be seen again anywhere.
This truly was a piece of History and will always remain in my heart!

kencmcintyre on February 3, 2006 at 8:56 pm

Here is an article on the demise of the Cove:
View link

kencmcintyre on February 3, 2006 at 8:51 pm

Here is a link with photos taken by the former manager. He gives the closing date as January 16, 2003:

monika on November 26, 2004 at 2:00 am

I was blessed to have worked at the Cove until its final days. I miss it and Spencer Wilson very much. Sad that even though it’s not a theatre anymore there is not an ounce of history left standing at 7730 Girard Avenue anymore.

Steve Photo Man
Steve Photo Man on July 26, 2004 at 10:37 am

The Cove Theater is gone, the building converted to high-end retail space on trendy Girard Ave. The facade of the building has been modernized, the brick removed.

brianpigott on October 7, 2003 at 3:13 pm

this theater was closed in 2002

brianpigott on January 17, 2003 at 1:26 pm

such a cool website packed with history information from a bygone day…