A sister of San Clemente’s Miramar Theater shines bright

posted by Raadg on March 29, 2007 at 4:55 am

Newport Beach Film Festival
April 19th – 29th

Red carpet opening night film screening & gala
International spotlight & events
Over 350 films from around the world
Seminars, family film series, collegiate showcase, & youth film showcase
Largest entertainment event in Orange County
Over 300 films from 30 countries will be screened
Well attended by distribution & industry executive
35,000+ Attendance
World-class beach resort

Not only are the Newport Beach Lido Theater & the San Clemente Beach Miramar both single screen theaters!

Not only are the Lido & the Miramar about 30 minutes away from each other!!

Not only were the Lido & the Miramar theaters “born” on the same year..1938!!!

But they also they are “true” sisters…by the same “father” renowned theater architect Clifford A. Balch!!!!

Some family members wish they had yhis much in common.

Some more facts about the alive & well lovely Lido :

The Lido Theatre was opened in 1938, and the first film it played was Bette Davis in “Jezebel”. The reason for that was that Davis lived nearby in Corona Del Mar and traveled by the site daily. Upon stopping onsite, she told the owner “they had
better open with my picture.” And they did. Davis also is responsible for the sitting parlor in the ladies room that harkens back to a time when women sat and smoked and chatted while arranging makeup in the mirrors. The parlor stools are period pieces and add such a wonderful touch.

Included in tribute to Davis, is a framed lobby card of “Jezebel”, which hangs on the parlor’s wall and greets you upon entrance. There were supposed to be a Men and
Women’s room downstairs, but Davis insisted on the the sitting parlor for the ladies, and so the men’s room was relocated upstairs.

The entire theatre has been restored, down to the tile work done in the 30’s by an
Italian family. The tile setting, called Catalina Tile, is only seen in one other site. The original family restored the tile. The Lido seats 622, of which 410 seats are downstairs and 212 are in the balcony, which are prime seats for all ages.

The poster cases are original, as is the tiny box office located outside the theatre under the Grand Marquee, and the Lido still uses manually dispensed real tickets instead of computer generated ones. The Grand Marquee is spectacular, with neon that lights the entire street, and painters and photographers can be seen daily in front of the theatre.

Many companies rent the Grand Marquee to use in portfolios or in commercials, and it has been a popular site for film and television backdrops. Even the movie show on the TBN Network, “Master’s Theatre”, filmed it opening on the marquee, and in the
projection booth and inside the theatre.

The Lido has a waterfall red velvet curtain that rises with each show, and no pre-show advertisements are allowed by the owners.

The theatre’s interior features period movie art, from “Gone With the Wind”, “Casablanca”, and others. But a most stunning feature is in the auditorium, where
black light illuminates the wall paintings of ocean scenes.

Regency has put in a sound system that is rated one of the best in Southern California, and even sound engineers rave about it.

The Lido features independent film, and has become a landmark for the independent and foreign genre. However, the Lido is only a block from the ocean, and surfers of all ages live in Newport Beach, so the Lido is also the surf film capital of Southern California, and runs a schedule of classic and new surf films. Many surf films, such as “Riding
Giants” (Sony), have had their world premiere there, with a parade of Woodys bringing the stars to the front, where during surf premieres, they walk a blue carpet to the theatre’s doors.

Once a summer, senior surfers (60-95) compete on Senior Surf Night to tell tales of local escapades and surfing adventures of times long gone, to the cheers of surfers
in their teens and twenties.

The Lido is also home for premieres of skateboarding, skating, and skimboard films.
Regency also works extensively with the Newport Beach Film Festival(NBFF), and the Lido is a location for prime features of the festival, which is held each April. Together, the Lido and NBFF also present cinema treasures, such as a yearly Christmas screening of “It’s A Wonderful Life” to families and children.

The Regency Lido is alive and well, and the theatre staff receives thanks daily from generations of families who attend regularly, and it is common to see grandparents,
their children, and their grandchildren attending together, and rushing for the balcony seating! The Lido is located on Via Lido, just off Newport Boulevard as you cross over to Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach. There are many restaurants and stores in the area, and directly across the street on the bay is Lido Village, a quaint and eclectic group of stores and restaurants. One block away is the pier and the fishing village, and of course, Newport Beach.

The Lido Theatre prides itself on service, with each visitor being greeted upon arrival and thanked as they leave by being offered a special mint, but one of the biggest favorites for movie viewers is on weekends, when noted announcer and restaurant critic, Jim Woodin, introduces the shows with tidbits and trivia, and always gives away prizes to an unsuspecting guest. And as his hand raises to the screen, and his voice booms out, “Ladies and gentlemen, enjoy the show,” the lights go down and Hollywood magic has returned.


Regency Site Newport Beach Film Festival

Some more of Clifford’s
“kids” :

Fox Riverside 1927 Clifford A. Balch | 3801 Mission Inn Avenue | Riverside

El Rey Theatre 1927 Clifford A. Balch | 5517 Wilshire Boulevard | Los Angeles

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