Ken Cinema

4061 Adams Avenue,
San Diego, CA 92116

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Showing 1 - 25 of 37 comments

markinthedark
markinthedark on April 28, 2014 at 10:53 am

I wish Landmark had had the some reaction to community support when they shut the NuWilshire in Santa Monica, Rialto in Pasadena, Egyptian in Seattle, etc. It seems that rather than having a chain of cozy art house theaters as they want to be another Arclight with venues like The Landmark in West LA.

neeb
neeb on April 28, 2014 at 1:45 am

And… it will live!

It’ll be closed from Monday to Thursday and be back on Friday, 02 May 2014.

neeb
neeb on April 14, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Today, in things that suck,

http://www.sandiegoreader.com/news/2014/apr/14/screen-ken-cinema-close-april-27/

This one hurts. In ways I can’t describe, it hurts.

LomaUsher
LomaUsher on March 1, 2014 at 9:50 pm

I liked the Ken best during its days as a repertory cinema, with a new double-feature on the bill every day of the week! I remember going in for a film, getting a large cup of Celestial Seasonings orange-spice tea, and settling in. I suppose you still can…but whether the tea is the same or not, I couldn’t say! Great theatre. Also, back in about 1981 or 82, on many Saturday nights a trip to see “Dance Craze” the ska concert-film was the same as going to a concert. The theatre was packed, and everyone was in their seat, then when the music started, the whole place was on their feet and bouncing off the walls. What a great time! I left many molecules off the soles of my Penny-Loafers on the floors and carpets of the Ken!

spliceandthread
spliceandthread on January 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Just an update as well. They no longer use the carbon arcs or reel to reel. They have a nice 4K digital and a platter system with their 35mm.

exprojector23
exprojector23 on November 27, 2012 at 12:11 am

Sorry, the date you have for the Ken’s inception is wrong. It may have been conflated with the construction date for San Diego’s Hillcrest Theater (later the Guild).

http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/sep/14/ken-cinema-celebrates-100-years-film-not-its-100th/

One of the comments in the above link states that a resident “who has lived in Kensington since 1945, says he remembers only a vacant lot on the west half of the 4000-block of south side of Adams Avenue until the theater opened in 1947.”

Other local histories also support a 1947 opening, as does information passed to me by people who worked with the Ken’s Bob Berkum before his retirement in the early 1980s.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Pretty low ceiling in the auditorium!

Here’s a direct link to the photos posted on 8/19/11. (Thanks, Danny.)

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on March 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Does anyone have any information on the Ken pre-1947 remodel? Did it actually show movies before then?

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on August 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Lots of photos, including a few interiors, here: http://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.119571068065336.12520.117370998285343&type=1

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Can’t make out that One-sheet!

TLSLOEWS
TLSLOEWS on March 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Any interior photos?

Knatcal
Knatcal on June 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I recently took a weekend trip to San Diego. While in San Diego I wanted to visited any historic theaters that were still left in the city. I was sadden to find out that Ken Cinema was the last single-screen theater in San Diego. of course I had to see film, “ Holy Rollers.” I am happy this theater at least remains.

monika
monika on February 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Joe, the cinema may have some filed away, if there’s something specific that you’re looking for you might want to try phoning them or the city office which is at the Hillcrest Cinemas.

BlueLizard876
BlueLizard876 on February 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Does anybody here know any way that I can see some of the old Ken Film calendars from like the 94 – 04 period?

kencmcintyre
kencmcintyre on October 25, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Advertised as the Ken-Art in the LA Times in March 1967.

monika
monika on April 4, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Ken, the photo you linked was taken in 2003, as the film showing at the time was “Lilya 4 Ever”, which was out in limited release in April of that year. A very disturbing film, though definitely Ken fare. I saw many a disturbing film there over the years, “Fat Girl” and “Julien Donkey Boy” are two examples that come quickly to mind.

I’ve posted this same picture above, though now it’s included on my theatres page on Flickr:
View link

DanChusid
DanChusid on July 20, 2007 at 7:13 pm

The first time I can remember attending the Ken was in the early eighties for a Saturday night
screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. There were so many people dressed up as the characters in the movie that I had no idea what to expect. It was my first viewing of this now camp classic and I can remember someone entering with a motorcycle from a door on the front right side, playing the role of the Meatloaf character and the scenes where people tossed toilet paper and rice towards the screen.
Truly an eye-opening experience.
In a few weeks, I’ll be bringing a group of photographers there for a screening of Edward Burtynsky’s movie, Manufactered Landscapes. Looking forward to it.
http://www.pbase.com/camera0bug

monika
monika on June 8, 2007 at 10:48 am

It is sad that the carbon arch projectors have been retired, though the theatre will surely benefit from the fact that the projector will now be manager run rather than projectionist run, lowering the theatre payroll. It was inevitable, and good for Landmark to wait until the Ken’s projectionist retired to make this major change.

A fairly recent photo of the Ken can be seen here: View link

danwhitehead1
danwhitehead1 on September 20, 2006 at 4:31 pm

Just a little P. S.
I am so very glad that I learned how to run the booth in the time period that I did. All of the old disciplines were still practiced. We changed projectors about every twenty minutes, we “rode the gain” for the sound, we “trimmed the arc”, we opened and closed the drapes, we dimmed the lights up and down, we turned the intermission music on and off and we “overlap” spliced the film with glue. We called this “Showmanship”. I am proud to have been a part of it.
Dan Whitehead
Irving, Tx.

danwhitehead1
danwhitehead1 on September 20, 2006 at 4:16 pm

WED20SEP06, 9:10P CST
That’s a real shame but I guess inevitable. I’m sure the carbon is very expensive to make now. It’s been a long time and I can’t remember all that went into the carbons, but there were some rare earths involved. I guess carbon arc lamps, tube driven amplifiers and glue splicing are all history.
Dan Whitehead
Irving, Tx.

Brocktune
Brocktune on September 20, 2006 at 3:19 pm

It is my unfortunate duty to report that as of the writing of this post 9/20/06 the Ken no longer uses the carbon rod projectors. They have one in the lobby right now so you can take photos, but the last film to run on them was a week or two ago. Apparently there is only one company left in the world that manufactures those carbon rods, and as less and less theaters have projectors that use them, they have become prohibitively expensive to acquire. I guess the upshot is that at least the theater is still open and running, eh? Tis truly the end of an era. What a bummer!

BrooklynJim
BrooklynJim on June 19, 2006 at 8:27 am

A single screen venue tucked away by I-15 in the Kensington area of San Diego, this theater reminds me so much of what I’d experienced in neighborhood theaters in Brooklyn & Queens (like the Peerless) when I was a kid some 50-odd years ago. Landmark is to be congratulated for keeping this gem going, very much like its sister counterpart, the Hillcrest Cinema.

Just recently, I was fortunate to view a wonderfully restored print of “The Fallen Idol,” a British entry made back in 1948. Last year, the folks at the Ken Cinema gave us the delightful “Festival Express,” filmed in Canada in 1970 and featuring the likes of Janis Joplin just three months before her untimely demise, a dark-haired Jerry Garcia, Ian & Sylvia, Buddy Guy and many more colorful characters from that era.