Pala Theatre

207 E. Grand Avenue,
Escondido, CA 92026

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Additional Info

Styles: Pueblo Deco

Previous Names: Kinema Theatre

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Pala Theater

Opened on December 23, 1920 as the Kinema Theatre, with Douglas Fairbanks in “The Mark od Zoro”. The building had a wide facade and two retail businesses flanked the recessed entrance, one being a shoe shop.

The theatre was remodeled and renamed the Pala Theatre (for the nearby Pala Indian reservation) on August 28, 1931, reopening with Jackie Coogan in “Huckleberry Finn”. It had a facade decorated in a Native American/Spanish Colonial motif. In 1958, the building was converted to a bowling alley.

Contributed by R. Christian Anderson

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

trooperboots on December 29, 2004 at 10:07 am

Here is a photograph of the building in 1931 of the Kinema. The movie being shown, according to the sign, is “Millionaire” with George Arliss and Noah Beery. George Arliss was the actor who “discovered” Bette Davis.

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Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on December 29, 2004 at 12:43 pm

Southwest Builder and Contractor, June 4th, 1920, says that Walter P. Williams had the contract for the construction of a theatre building on Grand Avenue, Escondido, to seat 625 persons, and that work would commence at once. The owner of the theater was named as A. H. Nelson.

trooperboots on December 31, 2004 at 9:03 am

Looks like the building is still there. My mom, who lives in Escondido, reports the following after a visit downtown:

The Bldg. is the same shape as the picture from 1931 above. It is now painted a light “coral” color with gray trim. There is a newer cornerstone which reads “SEARCY BLDG. 1979.”

The front lobby area of the former theater is now a nice well-kept business called “Judys Embroidery”, which specializes in logo sportswear and caps. The address is 201 Grand Ave.

Here is the surprise: The auditorium is still there. The entrance is on Kalmia Street, on the right side of the building through a courtyard and is now a community theater called “The Patio Playhouse”.

kencmcintyre on January 18, 2010 at 1:27 am

This looks to be the building referred to above:

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 30, 2012 at 10:38 am

The building at this location looks like newer construction to me, both at street level and in the satellite view. I see no resemblance at all between the current building and the Kinema Theatre building in the 1931 photo.

rivest266 on July 11, 2019 at 9:53 pm

This opened as Kinema on December 23rd, 1920. Grand opening ad posted.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on July 12, 2019 at 6:31 am

If this theater was converted into a bowling alley by 1938, why do we have a photo with a couple of circa 1950 cars out front, and the theater’s attraction board advertising the 1946 Mexican movie Campeón sin corona with David Silva? I’m thinking perhaps a typo was involved, and it was actually converted to a bowling alley in 1958, as I’ve come across two sources saying that the conversion did take place in the 1950s.

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