Comments from drb

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drb commented about Royal Hippodrome Theatre on Mar 13, 2022 at 9:16 am

Paul McCartney says that his dad, Jim McCartney, worked as a spotlight operator at the Hippodrome, back when it was still variety shows in the late 1920s.

drb commented about Holiday Theatre on Dec 10, 2019 at 7:13 pm

And yes, I meant to type 8383 instead of 8483 above. Typo. But either way, I think it’s wrong.

drb commented about Holiday Theatre on Dec 10, 2019 at 6:46 pm

8372 has the alternate addresses of 8382 and 8384 Topanga Canyon Blvd, and was built in 1961. It also LOOKS like the Holiday.

So why does everyone think it was across the street?

drb commented about Holiday Theatre on Dec 10, 2019 at 3:56 pm

Are you sure about the address 8483? The business next door was listed as 8366 Topanga Cyn Blvd, which would make this 8372, which is the Iglesia Apostolica Monte De Los Olivos church.

drb commented about Canoga Theatre on Dec 10, 2019 at 3:11 pm

The photo asking if the theatre next to the Nimoy’s Pet Pad was the Park/Canoga Theatre — the address of the pet shop was apparently 8366 Topanga Canyon Blvd, Canoga Park, and the theatre seen next door is the Holiday Theatre. So, not the Canoga.

drb commented about Gaumont Liverpool on Aug 11, 2019 at 11:52 pm

And Garston Empire and Abbey Cinema have also been mentioned in relation to the fledgling Beatles, but the Allerton location was central to all three (pre-Ringo) at the time. Other than John’s mother working here, I haven’t found any reference yet to them going to the Gaumont Liverpool, though. I’ll keep my eye out for it. There’s lots of books to read.

drb commented about Abbey Cinerama Theatre on Aug 11, 2019 at 10:26 pm

It was just a few blocks from George Harrison’s childhood home.

drb commented about Gaumont Liverpool on Aug 11, 2019 at 9:06 pm

John, Paul, and George usually went to the Gaumont Allerton (later Classic Allerton) near Penny Lane. It was the closest to John’s and Paul’s homes, and George would meet them there. Ringo wasn’t with the band yet, so he’d spend his afternoons at the Gaumont Dingle and an unlisted cinema in his area called “Barris.”

But… this DOES have a major Beatles connection, because John’s mother worked as an usherette here before she married John’s father. From Philip Norman’s biography of John:

[Julia] quickly gave this up to become an usherette at Liverpool’s plushest cinema, the Trocadero in Camden Street. Like Alf’s role at sea, it was a life of glamour by proxy, working amid deep pile carpets and soft lights, clad in a trim Ruritanian uniform with cross-buttoning tunic and pillbox hat. Her looks won her many admirers, and even the manager of the Trocadero, a magnificent personage who wore evening dress all day, also made periodic attempts to woo his prettiest usherette by leaving gifts of stockings or chocolates in her locker.

drb commented about Park Palace on Jul 9, 2019 at 1:39 am

Could this have been called “Barris Cinema” in the 1950s?

drb commented about Classic Allerton on Jun 13, 2019 at 8:38 pm

Okay, the Plaza looks to have been at 194 Allerton, while the smaller Odeon was next door, possibly 180 Allerton.

There are more photos on Flickr, including this one:

drb commented about Classic Allerton on Jun 13, 2019 at 1:59 pm

George Harrison stated in the Anthology book (page 97), “I remember once sitting with Paul in the cinema on the corner of Rose Lane, not far from where he lived, near Penny Lane. They showed an ad for Link Furniture: ‘Are you thinking of linking?’ Paul said, ‘Oh, that would make a good song,’ and he wrote one that went, ‘Thinking of linking my life with you’.” [As heard in a jam between Paul, George, and Ringo on the Anthology DVD.]

So, George Harrison remembered it on the corner of Allerton and Rose Lane, one block from Garthdale.

drb commented about Floral Hall on Jan 19, 2019 at 12:26 am

The Beatles performed at the Ballroom on January 19, 1963.

drb commented about 5th Avenue Theatre on Sep 29, 2018 at 9:45 pm

It’s now “The Historic Saint Paul Baptist Church,” with all the 5th Ave lettering removed, and the facade neatly painted white. Well, at least it’s being taken care of now, instead of being left to rot.

drb commented about Regal Theatre on Jan 22, 2018 at 10:15 am

This theatre was used recently as a rehearsal hall before the big concerts of none other than Paul McCartney and his band.

drb commented about United Artists Theatre on Jan 12, 2018 at 9:05 pm

The whole building is getting “rehabbed” into residential units with ground level retail.

drb commented about Crest Theatre on Mar 14, 2016 at 4:37 pm

Fresno Bee – Grassroots effort underway to restore Fresno’s historic Crest Theatre

Joshua Tehee

March 10, 2016 7:50 PM
Grassroots effort underway to restore Fresno’s historic Crest Theatre

Downtown theater will start with neon marquee

Several fundraiser events in the works

The theater was built in 1949 and is on the local historic register

[Photo captions: 1 of 2 Several Hollywood stars attended the opening of the Crest Theatre at Fresno Street and Broadway on July 7, 1949. 2 of 2 Lisa Dines, center, presents Dee Ann Hull and Gloria Leon with stained-glass signs for the bathrooms at Fresno’s Crest Theatre. Special to The Bee]

By Joshua Tehee

Sometimes revitalization happens en masse, with government money and City Council debate and a groundswell of public support – as was the case with the Fulton Mall’s conversion to Fulton Street at groundbreaking last week.

Other revitalization efforts are quieter, more grass-roots.

For instance, the small group of people working on The Crest Theatre restoration project. In January, theater manager Dee Ann Hull put word out on social media that the downtown theater was looking to restore its signature marquee and tower and that she needed performers and artists willing to help, even in the smallest ways.

“She was asking for artists to paint old movie posters to put up in the front of the theater,” says Lisa Dines, one local artist who answered the call. “I don’t paint, but I do stained glass.”

So, Dines created a pair of stained-glass bathroom signs for the theater. They will replace the original signs, which were put in back in 1948 and read “Ladies and Gentlemen” in green etched glass. Like many pieces of the theater, the signs had disappeared over the years.

Dines spent two months working on the stained glass, following art deco designs she found online. She wanted the signs to look as original as possible.

In all, she spent $50 in materials.

It was a small thing, perhaps, but it shows Dines’ appreciation for the theater and what it represents. The real estate agent and clinical counselor (stained-glass art is a hobby) has lived in Fresno for only a few years and didn’t realize the full extent of historic buildings that were in the city’s urban core. Then she visited the Crest with Hull and became enamored.

“All this. In Fresno. Who would have thought?” Dines says.

The Crest Theatre was built in 1948 and opened in 1949 as one of several ornate movie theaters downtown. It was built in the art deco style popular at the time, with ornate golden plasterwork on the walls and ceilings.

“Of particular significance is the building’s 50-foot-tall sign, which is the most elaborate example of commercial neon work in Fresno,” according to the website, which has a list of buildings on the local historic register. The Crest was added in 2010.

Hull’s family has owned the 588-seat theater since 1996, when her mother, Gloria León, bought it from actors Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft (though Brooks was not there when León signed the final paperwork, a fact she is still sad/mad about).

León is a story in and of herself. She started her first business as a child in Mexico, selling American candy and renting (yes, renting) magazines. She moved to Fresno at 15. She had owned several businesses in the Crest Theatre building before she bought it.

The Crest has remained a movie theater of sorts, hosting a series of Mexican and Indian film premieres. For a while, it was used as a church. The family works with outside promoters to bring in special events and live concerts.

León’s favorites are the EDM (electronic dance music) shows. You can often find her out on the dance floor.

So, the theater is far from shuttered. The last EDM show drew 900-plus people. But the family would like to do more events and eventually handle the promotions themselves.

But that is down the road.

“A lot of people grew up coming here. They have a connection. They see something beautiful.” — Crest Theatre manager Dee Ann Hull

For now, they’ll start with the marquee and neon, because it’s the most visible. The volunteer group is working to form a proper nonprofit (Friends of the Crest) to start raising money for the project, which Hull pegs at $250,000. After the marquee, they want to focus on a full restoration of the theater, Hull says, though that kind of project could take eight years or more.

There are several fundraiser events already in the works, including a “Peace on Earth” EDM concert April 16 and another in early May that will coincide with the city’s Historic Preservation Week.

The theater needs to be preserved, says Jason Hatwig, who sits on the city’s Historic Preservation Commission and is helping with the event, because its worth extends well beyond the obvious architecture and history.

“It’s about the people and the culture and the music,” he says. “Just to have that tie.”

Hatwig points to Sacramento’s Crest Theatre as an example of what is possible. That theater went through a complete restoration, including refurbishment of its neon sign in 2009, and is now a vibrant part of downtown Sacramento.

It won’t happen without help. Hull knows as much. She has tried working with the city and others to secure grant funding. She has had little success. She hopes, with new excitement and empowerment from the community, the theater can finally return to its former glory.

“It’s going to take a lot of work, a lot of people getting involved,” she says. “This is what we need.”

This – people willing to donate their talents, even if it’s to make a couple of bathroom signs – is how it starts.

Downtown is finally at the point we can maybe make it work.

Marcus Maurrietta, a local promoter working to revitalize the Crest Theatre

Joshua Tehee: 559-441-6479, @joshuatehee

drb commented about Major Theatre on Feb 27, 2015 at 6:26 pm

Apparently it closed after a fire broke out in 1962 or 1963, severely damaging the interior.

drb commented about Egyptian Theatre on Jan 27, 2015 at 3:40 pm

terrywade: Totally agree!

I hadn’t been to the Egyptian since the early nineties, before the quake and remodeling. I had read others' descriptions of what had been done to the poor theatre, and wasn’t in a hurry to return. But there was something showing a couple months ago that I wanted to see, and both the Chinese and El Capitan were running movies on my “need to see” list, so I thought I’d do all three movie palaces in one day. So, straight from El Cap to the Chinese, with all of their splendors, I walk into the Egyptian, and… no matter how many interior photos I had seen, somehow I just wasn’t prepared for how underwhelming the poor theatre had become. At least with the curved screen and curtains, the sunburst and scarab where the old proscenium arch once was still had a visual connection to the screen. Now it’s just in the middle of nowhere, with the tiny, unadorned screen far away from it, looking like it’s right out a multiplex in a mall. They really put the “gyp” in Egyptian.

drb commented about Cinemark North Hollywood on Aug 27, 2014 at 6:31 pm

North Hollywood IS part of Los Angeles. WEST Hollywood is a separate city, NORTH Hollywood (and regular Hollywood) are suburbs of the City of Los Angeles.

drb commented about Pussycat Theatre on Jul 16, 2013 at 5:23 pm

Is this a bit of it on the left? Facebook – San Diego Historic Neon

drb commented about Inglewood Theater on Jun 16, 2013 at 10:26 pm

From Cal State Dominguez Hills:

drb commented about Alpha Theatre on May 1, 2013 at 9:41 pm

Photo gallery here: Fiesta Mexicana Banquet Hall – Bell Location

Short video tour: Fiesta Mexicana Banquet Hall Bell CA – YouTube

drb commented about Major Theatre on Apr 29, 2013 at 5:42 am

Oh, and the address is correct, therefore it’s still standing. The 333 address is still used for a tiny storefront in between the two halves of the old theatre, last used for a booth selling and buying jewelry. It may have been the box office. There’s terrazzo on one side for a shoe store that looks early 1960s vintage, so the Major Theatre probably didn’t survive past the 1950s. A couple aerial views from the photos found in the 1959 time capsule opened in 2009 show a small neon tower on the roof.

Here’s a page of a 1950s directory that confirms the address:

drb commented about New Port Theatre on Apr 23, 2012 at 12:22 am

L.A. Times article

Port Theater in Corona del Mar will reopen after 14 years

drb commented about LOOK Dine-In Cinemas Glendale on Apr 18, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Here’s video of the construction so far (link courtesy of the Tropico Station blog).