811 Macdonald Avenue,
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Previously operated by: Robert L. Lippert Theatres Inc.
Previous Names: Studio Theatre
Converted from a former Safeway grocery store, the Studio Theatre opened at 811 Macdonald Avenue, right next to the Fox Theatre (formerly T & D Theatre/California Theatre and future United Artists Theatre) in downtown Richmond on June 13, 1942. It was Robert L. Lippert’s second theatre in the Richmond area and like the first the Grand Theatre, was designed to serve Richmond’s rapidly growing wartime boom town population.
Like the neighboring State Theatre and future neighbor the Rio Theatre the Studio Theatre operated on a “grind house” policy during the war years with continuous showings from 10am until 5am the next morning. This was to appeal to the tens of thousands of shift workers at the nearby Kaiser Shipyards and other defence related industries in the Richmond area.
After the war ended the grind house policy continued but with more limited hours due to the closing of the shipyards. After a temporary closing and some minor remodeling the theatre’s name was changed to the Crest Theatre and re-opened on September 1, 1950. Due to Richmond’s depressed post war economy and the increasing popularity of television the Crest Theatre continued to struggle just as the Studio Theatre did during it’s final years and closed permanently by January 1952. It was replaced by a Sav-Mor drug store, later demolished with the entire block (including the Fox/UA) and is now a Kaiser Hospital and Medical Facility Parking garage.
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This letter from Robert L. Lippert to the trade journal Motion Picture Herald was published in the magazine’s issue of September 12, 1942:
Motion Picture Herald, Jan. 26, 1952: “Robert Lippert’s Crest, Richmond, has closed.”