14808 E. 14th Street,
14808 E. 14th Street,San Leandro, CA 94578
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This opened on July 3rd, 1946. Grand opening ad in the photo section.
Here is an updated link to the 1946 Boxoffice article about the Bal Theatre.
A 2010 photo can be seen here.
@davidkaye: Because that’s the name of that neighborhood in San Leandro. (I’m from San Leandro originally, grew up there in the 60’s/70’s)
Does anybody know why it was named the Bal? Is it Spanish? Was it someone’s last name?
The Bal Theatre was designed by architect Vincent G. Raney. An article about it appeared in Boxoffice of September 14, 1946. There are four photos. The article mistakenly palces the Bal in Oakland.
Great News! The grand reopening of the Bal will be on 4/23/10. According to the website calendar, renovations are being done, including the installation of a new curtain. Classic films are scheduled to play, starting with His Girl Friday on the 24th.
Here is a somewhat vertiginous view of the Bal:
There have been independently made documentaries that have been showing here on Saturdays since November. Status should be changed to “open”. I am curious as to how much of an audience the documentaries are doing.
Here is a January 1961 ad from the Hayward Review:
I hope they start showing cool B Movies at the Bal with the new owners.. San leandro is a gold mine for cool :)
ok thank you, i see that you have taken recent shots of the theatre
have you been informed on what type of business is going to be inside of there?
Hey Lost Memory I am the son of the man who has purchased the theater i was interested in what your history is with the theater,because i am very much interested in finding out as much as i can about the building, so if you can email me it would be great my email is
I have also recently seen that there is now a Sold sign posted in one of the windows, i have also seen a few people walking in and out of the theatre from time to time. So is there any news on who has now purchased the Bal Theatre?
There is now a Sold sign in the window. Wonder who bought it this time.
Did the name originate with the district or with the theatre? The San Leandro Times says the Bal Districts are of mostly post-WWII development. It’s easier to tell what came first in Fresno’s Tower District, for example, since the neighborhood is considerably older than the theatre from which it eventually got its current name.
The neighborhood surrounding the theater is called the Bal neighborhood.
Here is an article with several photos of the Bal, including some interior shots.
I haven’t been able to find how the theatre got its name, but what I have found is an online excerpt from a book called “Got a Revolution” which reveals that The Bal’s owner, Renny Lamarre, was also the manager of a young musician named Marty Buchwald and, not liking that surname, changed it to Balin, taking the first syllable from his Bal Theatre. Marty Balin then went on to fame as a member of the San Francisco band Jefferson Airplane.
Purely as speculation, I wonder if the theatre’s name was chosen because bal is the French word for ball, as in fancy-pants dance?
A good view of the Bal Theater in San Leandro taken by SteelePop.
Here are links to several articles regarding The Bal Theatre
It’s legal troubles over showing “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” in 2001
It’s conversion to showing Indian Bollywood films in 2004
The Bal Theatre is still closed. The poster display window has a Bollywood Film poster still in it. The last I heard the Lobby had been painted garrish colors during the run of “Rocky Horror”
Does anyone know how the Bal Theater got its name?
I remember seeing ‘Journey To The Center Of The Earth’ at the Bal many years ago. They had the best 4 track stereo surround system in the 50’s and 60’s. Someone needs to reopen the place. Book movies from the 50’s, get the seniors to come, make it like the old days. People are tired of the multiplex experience. The Lorenzo is about to be re opened one day.
Bal sued a much larger theater group in 1962 for anti-trust:
The Bal is a beautiful theatre. I wonder what happened to the beautiful blue curtain that graced the stage. The interior is a little water damaged, but the murals are intact and beautiful. I remember as a kid, there was a supermarket called LoRays that gave free passes for movies on Sat and Sun afternoons and the place was packed. The interior is a long wide auditorium, single floor, but starts to slope up in the back slightly for about 15 rows. The screen is big and the sound system is terrific. I wish I could win the lottery and just run the Bal. It had a beautiful neon sign that would flash in red and blues, you could see it all the way down East 14th Street. Only drawback was parking. There used to be a little coffee shop right next to the Bal, that made great hamburgers and back then you had to be 18 to play pinball, but the lady would let you play the one she had as long as you put money in the juke box. Ah, the memories!
For sale for $750,000 at