3825 Fifth Avenue,
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Styles: Spanish Colonial
Previous Names: Hillcrest Theater
The Hillcrest Theater was built in 1913 as a silent motion picture house. It has the distinction of being the first film theater built in San Diego that was not downtown. Though small in size, it also had a balcony. It was distinctly Spanish Colonial in style, and even sported a bell tower at the apex of the facade.
For a reason unclear, it closed in 1917, but was re-opened in the 1930s by the Fox chain, who ran it for two decades. It was renamed the Guild in the 1950s but by the 1970s was showing adult films. Landmark took it over in 1978 and it became a popular art house. By 1996, a theater group called “Crazed Imaginations” led the theater audience in late-night sing-along showings of the film “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” which was a big hit.
Sadly, in 1997, the theater was closed, the same year the historic Park Theater was closed a few blocks away. In 2002 an entirely new structure replaced it, the new one with a facade made to simulate the appearance of the original, sans the charming interior and details. The new structure is a designer furniture showroom today.
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