I went exploring Pasadena's Academy Theatre several months ago. The venue opened in 1925 as part of the Bard's chain which also operated other venues like the Vista, the Olympic (then Bard's 8th St.) and others in West Adams and Glendale.
It's now a 6 plex and I was wondering how they shoehorned 6 auditoria into what had only been a 1700 seat theatre. It turns out it's 2 upstairs in the former balcony and 4 downstairs. They got 4 in downstairs as the forward 2 are way into what had been the stage area. Those forward 2 are served by a separate projection booth on stilts.
But I really went looking for traces of the original Egyptian style auditorium or even the 40s moderne re-do. Maybe there are wonders above the ceilings or inside the walls but, alas, there's nothing visible of interest in the various auditoria. From the 40s re-do and later Shouras-era upgrades we get a bit of terrazzo at the entrance (as you can see in the photo) and etched aluminum panels around a drinking fountain. That's about it.
See my Academy 6 page for more information on the theatre and some photos of its current configuration. I wish I could tell you I found glorious photos of the 2 historic interiors to put on that page but I struck out. Even a visit to the Pasadena Historical Society yielded nothing.
Have you seen any interior views anywhere? I'm still looking.
Update 11/10/10: Alex Cheatham, who works at the Academy, unearthed an opening night photo in the Pasadena Star News which is now on the page for the Academy. He's also prowling the nooks and crannies of the theatre for hints of the past and promises to keep us posted.
Start your Los Angeles area historic theatre explorations by heading to one of these major sections:
| Downtown | Hollywood | Westside | Westwood/Brentwood | Santa Monica | [more] L.A. Movie Palaces |
To see what's recently been added to the mix visit the Theatres in Movies site and the Los Angeles Theatres Facebook page.