Many of these theatres went by different names at different times. In case you're having difficulty locating something, at the bottom of the San Gabriel Valley, Pomona and Whittier survey page you'll find a list of the alternate names. The Pasadena theatres are also included in the San Gabriel Valley: theatres by address list.
| Pasadena Grand Opera House |
| 64 W. - UA Marketplace | 61 W. - Fox Pasadena | @ Miller Alley - iPic Pasadena | 29 W. - Crown Theatre | @ Fair Oaks - Parlor Theatre | 28 E. - Photoplay | 114 E. - Tower Theatre | 336 E. - ArcLight Cinemas | 340 E. - Strand Theatre | 606 E. - United Artists | 673 E. - Laemmle Playhouse 7 | 770 E. - State Theatre | 1003 E. - Academy 6 | 2316 E. - Uptown Theatre | 2588 E. - Colorado Theatre | 2670 E. - Esquire Theatre | 3300 E. - Liberty Theatre |
El Molino Ave.
Fair Oaks Ave.
| 1375 N. - Park Theatre | 1246 N. - Fair Oaks Theatre | 85 N. - Oaks Theatre | 73 N. - Cinematheque 16 | 107 S. - Pasadena Repertory | 804 - S. Pasadena - Ritz Theatre | 1023 - S. Pasadena - Rialto Theatre |
One Colorado / Miller Alley
| iPic Pasadena |
1003 E. Colorado Blvd.
It opened in 1925 as Bard's Egyptian. The 1,709 seat house, a design by Lewis A. Smith, had full stage facilities. By 1931 it was a Fox West Coast operation and called the Fox Colorado. The photo from that year is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. Fox gave it a moderne renovation in 1942, obliterating the original Egyptian themed interior. In the 80s the facade was stripped off and the interior redone as a six screen complex. For more information see the page about the Academy 6.
336 E. Colorado Blvd.
It opened in 2001 as Pacific's Paseo Colorado 14. With a remodel in 2010 it emerged as their upscale brand ArcLight. The 2019 image is from Google Maps. For more information see the page about the Arclight Cinemas.
845 E. Washington Blvd.
This 900 seat house was opened in 1925 by West Coast-Langley as the Washington Theatre featuring vaudeville along with the films although the stage capabilities were limited. In 1968 it became the Cinema 21 and later ran Mexican language and adult product. After the 1989 closing it was used as a rehearsal hall. Thanks to American Classic Images for the 1983 photo. After being dormant for over 20 years, the interior was stripped out in a still-uncompleted renovation project. For more information see the page on the Cinema 21.
73 N. Fair Oaks Ave.
This operation showing experimental films, an offshoot of a similar venture on the Sunset Strip, opened in 1968 in the main hall of a building that had been a Masonic Lodge. On the right in this c.1925 Pasadena Public Library photo is the venue later known as the Oaks Theatre. The Cinematheque ran into the 1970s. The whole block was demolished late in that decade with a new office building now on the site. For more information see the page about the Cinematheque 16.
2588 E. Colorado Blvd.
It opened in 1949 on an art house policy. The 748 seat house, a design by Clarence J. Smale, was operated over the years by Statewide, Loew's, General Cinema, Century, SRO and Laemmle. Thanks to Cinema Treasures contributor Marcel for his 1997 photo. The theatre closed in 2001 and is now a church. For more information see the page about the Colorado Theatre.
29 W. Colorado Blvd.
This one opened in late 1909 and running until around 1916. It was in a building on the north side of the street between Fair Oaks and De Lacey. It would have been a few doors east of Clune's Pasadena, the theatre later known as the Fox Pasadena. There isn't much more information yet but see the page about the Crown Theatre for a photo of the building on the site that may have once housed the theatre.
4884 Eagle Rock Blvd. Eagle Rock
It opened in May 1929 with vaudeville and talkies as the Yosemite Theatre, a reference to its cross street. Seating was originally 900 in what was a semi-atmospheric auditorium. It's also been known as the New Eagle and the Pussycat. In the early 2000s it featured legit performances and was later used as a church. The 1972 photo is from the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The Eagle is currently vacant. For more information see the page about the Eagle Theatre.
2670 E. Colorado Blvd.
This remodel of what had been a restaurant opened as a 525 seat theatre in 1964. Considered Pasadena's first art house, it was a project of Max and Robert Laemmle. The photo comes from the vanished website L.A. Okay. The theatre closed in 2000 and was later used as a branch bank. For more information see the page on the Esquire Theatre.
Fair Oaks Theatre
1246 N. Fair Oaks Ave.
It was listed in the 1915-16 city directory. The location was on the east side of the street a block south of Washington Blvd. Whatever building it was in has been demolished. There's a page started for the Fair Oaks Theatre but no additional information has surfaced.
61 W. Colorado Blvd.
This 1,194 seat house opened in 1911 as Clune's Pasadena, a project of pioneer filmmaker and exhibitor Billy Clune. By the early 20s it was being operated by the company that later morphed into Fox West Coast. The 1927 photo by Maynard Parker is in the Huntington Library collection. It was called the Fox Pasadena after 1929 and ran until the mid-1950s. The building is now a Gap and Crate and Barrel. For more information see the page about the Fox Pasadena.
355 N. Rosemead Blvd.
It was opened in 1968 by Seattle-based Sterling Theatres as a 1,542 seat house with 70mm capability. Pacific took over in 1985. A smaller second house was carved out of what had been the front of the auditorium. A new building with three more screens was added and later each of those were split. Thanks to Deanna Bayless for the 2007 photo, the year of the closing. For more information see the page on Pacific's Hastings 8.
400 N. Halstead St.
It was opened in 1950 by Comet Theatre Enterprises and acquired in 1955 by Seattle-based Sterling Recreation. The 1,000 car facility was just north of Foothill Blvd. and bordered on the east by Rosemead Blvd. It closed in the late 1960s and the property was redeveloped. In 1968 Sterling had built the single-screen Pasadena Hastings Theatre south of the drive-in. For more information see the page about the Hastings Drive-In.
Hastings Ranch 3
467 N. Rosemead Blvd.
This 916 seat triplex was opened in 1975 by Mann Theatres and later operated by Pacific Theatres. The 1975 photo is from an issue of Boxoffice. The theatre closed in 2002 and got turned into a Trader Joe's. For more information see the page about the Hastings Ranch 3.
42 Miller Alley
The complex opened in 1991 as the AMC Old Pasadena 8. Later it was operated by Laemmle as the One Colorado Cinemas. In 2009 it got a makeover by Village Roadshow and reopened as the Gold Class Cinemas, a six screen complex with recliners, a bar and full food service during the films. It's now operated by iPic Theaters. For more information see the page on the iPic Pasadena.
Laemmle Playhouse 7
673 E. Colorado Blvd.
This 1,191 seat complex with seven screens opened in 1999. Seating capacities range from 116 to 253. The chain runs first run foreign, indie and other specialized product. For more information see the page about the Laemmle Playhouse 7.
3300 E. Colorado Blvd.
"Every Night at 8:15 New Play Every week." This tent show in the Lamanda Park area was running as a legit theatre offering stock productions in 1925. The photo by Harold A. Parker from the Huntington Library collection was commissioned by the local Essex dealer. For more information see the page about the Liberty Theatre.
85 N. Fair Oaks Ave.
It opened in 1910 or a bit earlier as Fischer's Theatre, featuring vaudeville and stock company presentations. By 1913 it had become the Savoy and from 1917 until 1925 it was the home of Gilmore Brown's acting company and renamed the Pasadena Community Playhouse. In 1925 it got a remodel and became a film house called the Fair Oaks. It was the Oaks from 1945 onward, ending up as an adult theatre. The 1970s photo is from the Pasadena Public Library. Demolition was in 1977. For more information see the page about the Oaks Theatre.
SW corner of Colorado & Hudson
This was planned in the late 1920s but never built. For more information see a page about unbuilt projects in Pasadena.
1375 N. Fair Oaks Ave.
This 760 seat house a half block north of Washington Blvd. opened sometime around 1929, a design by the Texas firm of Orlopp & Orlopp. It was operated at times by the Texas based chain Robb & Rowley as well as Fox West Coast and closed in the early 1950s. A building occupied by a pharmacy at 1377 Fair Oaks Ave. might be the former theatre. For more information see the page about the Park Theatre.
NE corner of Colorado and Fair Oaks
This 2nd floor venue above Barney Williams store, originally called Williams Hall, was Pasadena's first theatre. It opened around 1885 and the building was demolished around 1903. The photo, taken shortly before demolition, is from the Pasadena Museum of History collection. For more information see the page about the Parlor Theatre.
300 E. Green St.
This 3,029 seat theatre, a design by the firm of Bergstrom, Bennett, Haskell and Stanton, opened in 1932. It's used for a wide variety of legitimate theatrical productions, concerts, and special events. For more information and many photos see the pages on the Pasadena Civic Auditorium: history + exterior views | lobby areas | auditorium | booth | attic + organ chambers | stage | basement |
Pasadena Grand Opera House
S. Raymond Ave. at E. Bellevue Dr.
This 1,500 seat house opened in 1889 after many construction delays. It was soon in financial trouble and went through a succession of owners including Thaddeus Lowe. It's also known as the Lowe Opera House. Thanks to the Pasadena Museum of History for the c.1889 photo. Demolition was in 1923. For more information see the page about the Pasadena Grand Opera House.
39 S. El Molino Ave.
It opened in 1925 as a new home for the company that was founded in 1917 by Gilmore Brown. The 684 seat house was designed by Elmer Grey, who also designed the Beverly Hills Hotel, the Huntington Library and the CalTech campus. The theatre is home to a resident company that produces a varied season of plays and musicals. For more information see the page on the Pasadena Playhouse.
Pasadena Repertory Theatre
107 S. Fair Oaks Ave.
This building at Fair Oaks and Dayton St. dates from the 1880s and has had a number of uses including as a saddle shop and hotel. Part of it was used in the 1970s as a theatre space by Pasadena Repertory Theatre. It's now several retailers on the ground floor. For more information see the page about the Pasadena Repertory Theatre.
28 E. Colorado Blvd.
Henry L. Warner (no relation to the more famous Warner Bros.) opened this house in 1914 as Warner's Photoplay, a remodel of an existing building. The photo is from the Pasadena Museum of History. Later it was known as the Pasadena Photoplay. The building came down for new construction in 1930. For more information see the page about the Photoplay.
129 N. Raymond Ave.
This 1,996 seat house, the largest movie theatre in Pasadena, opened in 1921 as Jensen's Raymond. Later it was known as the Crown. It had a career as a rock emporium from the 1970s into the early 90s as the Perkins Palace and, at the end, reverting to the Raymond name. A 23 year battle waged by Gina Zamparelli and the Friends of the Raymond was unsuccessful in saving the building from condo-ization. Part of the auditorium, useless as a theatre, was "restored." For more information see the page about the Raymond Theatre.
1023 Fair Oaks Ave. South Pasadena
This 1,200 seat Egyptian-themed house opened in 1925. It was a design by Lewis A. Smith for C.L. Langley, who also built the Alex in Glendale. Langley's firm soon became a part of West Coast Theatres and the theatre was operated for decades by the successor firm, Fox West Coast. Landmark Theatres was the last operator, closing it in 2007. It sat vacant, except for an occasional rental, for ten years. The family trust that had owned the building sold it in 2014 to developer Izek Shomof. In mid-2017 he leased it for 20 years to the the Mosaic Church. For more information and many photos see the Rialto pages: history + exterior views | lobby areas | auditorium | stage + basement |
804 Fair Oaks Ave. South Pasadena
It opened as the Colonial, probably in 1917. By the 30s it had become the Ritz. Thanks to Cinema Treasures contributor Tahoe 61 for finding the photo. Edward J. Borgmeyer designed the 700 seat house. The site became a parking lot in 1961. For more information see the page on the Ritz Theatre.
5058 Eagle Rock Blvd. Eagle Rock
This 503 seat house opened in 1922 as the United Theatre. Later known as the Eagle Rock Theatre, the Eagle Theatre and, finally, as the Sierra. The image is a detail from a 1955 photo by Alan Weeks. It's been demolished. The building now on the site dates from 1962. For more information see the page on the Sierra Theatre.
South Pasadena Opera House
915 El Centro St. South Pasadena
It opened in 1888, a project of Donald M. Graham and Richard J. Mohr and also known as the Graham and Mohr Opera House. The theatre space was on the second floor. That's the Post Office on the right in this postcard view from the South Pasadena Public Library. The building was demolished in 1939. For more information see the page on the South Pasadena Opera House.
770 E. Colorado Blvd.
This theatre designed by Oliver P. Dennis opened in 1918 as the Florence, with images of famous residents of that city along the auditorium walls. It started as an independent but later ended up with a company that evolved into Fox West Coast. After a 1935 remodel it was renamed the State. It had several closings, the final one being in 2000. Thanks to Eric Lynxwiler for the post-closing photo. It's been rebuilt as retail and office space with the original facade somewhat restored. For more information see the page about the State Theatre.
340 E. Colorado Blvd.
The Strand opened in 1914 and got a big upgrade to a more Spanish look ten years later. The 1929 photo by Harold A. Parker is in the Huntington Library collection. The last year of operation of the 782 seat house was evidently 1956. The site is now part of the Paseo Colorado development. For more information see the page about the Strand Theatre.
114 E. Colorado Blvd.
This 754 seat house just east of the tracks opened in 1929 or 1930. It was a design by local architect B.G. Horton. The 1937 photo by Herman Schultheis is in the Los Angeles Public Library collection. The house closed in the early 1950s and was turned into a parking lot. For more information see the page about the Tower Theatre.
606 E. Colorado Blvd.
A 1931 design by Clifford Balch and the firm of Walker and Eisen, this 912 seat house was similar to the other UA houses opened in the early 1930s. The Mott Studios photo is from the California State Library. Initially operated by Fox West Coast, the United Artists Theatre Circuit took over operation in 1950 as a result of consent decree settlements. It closed in 1990 and was later used for retail. The building, with its restored facade, is now a restaurant and gym. For more information see the page on the United Artists.
64 W. Colorado Blvd.
This sixplex with 1,725 seats opened in 1986. It had also been advertised as UA The Movies, the Pasadena Marketplace and the Pasadena 6. Thanks to Scott Neff for the 2004 photo, taken the year of its closing. The building has been rebuilt for retail use. For more information see the page about the UA Marketplace.
2316 E. Colorado Blvd.
It opened as Warner's Egyptian with movies and vaudeville in 1925. The proprietor was Henry L. Warner, no relation to the more famous Warners. It got renamed the Uptown in 1936 and ran until 1986. Thanks to James F. Staub for finding this 1953 view from the Kneisel Family Archives. There was an attempted renovation in the early 2000s but it was aborted by a landlord dispute. It's been vacant since. For more information see the page about the Uptown Theatre.
Warner Bros. Pasadena
Colorado at Euclid
This was planned in the late 1920s but never built. For more information see a page about unbuilt projects in Pasadena.
Pasadena History Resources
For more information on Pasadena's theatres see the Cinema Treasures Pasadena and South Pasadena sections. Also visit the page with the Pasadena listings on the Cinema Tour directory.
Arcadia Publishing has several titles of interest including "Early Pasadena," "Pasadena, A Business History," "South Pasadena" and "Downtown Pasadena's Early Architecture."
Check out the Pasadena postcard collections on Card Cow and Penny Postcards from California. Noirish Los Angeles post # 4643 by Sopas EJ has a discussion about downtown Pasadena buildings. One topic of interest is the widening of Colorado Blvd. in the 20s and its impact on existing buildings.
Matt Hormann has done an interesting series of articles on Pasadena Theatres for Hometown Pasadena. His titles include "Remembering Pasadena's Palace of Rock," a 2010 story about the
Raymond Theatre. It's also on Internet Archive. A 2015 story profiled "The Lost Adult Theaters of Pasadena." Also see Hormann's fine 2011 articles "Ghost Theatres of Colorado Blvd. - Part 1 of 2" and "Ghost Theatres of Colorado - Part 2 of 2 ."
The Pasadena Digital History Collaboration has a wonderful photo archive drawing from partners including the Pasadena Public Library, Pasadena City College and the Pasadena Museum of History. Also see the Flickr sets posted by the PDHC and Keepers of Pasadena. Other organizations interested in Pasadena historic preservation include Pasadena Heritage and Pasadena Museum of History.
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