235 Pike Avenue,
235 Pike Avenue,Long Beach, CA 90802
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Issues of Southwest Builder & Contractor from November 22 and December 13, 1918 say that the new theater soon to be built on The Pike for Otis Hoyt was being designed by local architect W. Horace Austin. The new house was on the site of the Columbia Theatre, which was to be demolished after the first of the year.
Reopened as Strand on December 25th, 1927.
Strand theatre opening Sat, Dec 24, 1927 – 4 · Press-Telegram (Long Beach, California) · Newspapers.com
This opened as the Hoyt’s on June 30th, 1919. Pictures at https://cla.csulb.edu/departments/rgrll/projects/balboaresearch/early-long-beach/hoyts-pantages/ Grand opening ad posted.
1946 photo added, photo credit Charles Phoenix.
Well, it’s not a facade view – but you get the sign for the Strand:
It’s a vintage postcard view on Card Cow looking west along The Pike with the Bathhouse in the foreground (the columned building) and the steel framework of the Strand sign beyond.
Here is a 1930 photo:
The Strand can be seen in this 1938 photo from the Long Beach library:
Here is a 1948 postcard:
Here is a December 1947 ad from the Long Beach Press-Telegram:
Here is an LA Times article dated March 5, 1908. It looks like the new theater was going up on the Pike, but the theater itself is not named.
SURFEIT OF THEATERS
The city, after a famine, is to have a surfeit of playhouses. A deal for a third theater was closed today between the Seaside Water Company and the E.C. Edmundson and R.C. McDonald, former manager of the Long Beach Theater. The site leased is a 58x200 foot lot between the bath-house and the Majestic Rink, and heretofore has been used as a children’s playground. Mr. McDonald has the plans and capital for a modern theater which will be erected at once and will cost $40,000. Meanwhile, the new Tarrytown, a block west, is being built, and the Naples Construction Company today signed contracts to begin work on the Bentley Theater, west of the Majestic Rink.
Here is a May 1958 ad from the Long Beach Independent:
Here are two 1930 photos from the LAPL:
I have 2 friends currently living in Long Beach who played at the Strand. One, Art Claar, played trumpet in the vaudeville band and the other sang at the Strand. I am working on a documentary film about the old movie theaters in Long Beach. I would like to talk to anyone who has any memories or pictures of the old theaters. Contact me at
Here is a 1953 photo:
Here is the last set of LAPL photos I posted, which have apparently gone missing:
Criswell was known for his appearances in Ed Wood films. He was a purported psychic, who later admitted to a career-long hoax. When he appeared at the Strand in March 1950, he as still known as Jeron King Criswell, Press-Telegram columnist. Criswell left us, presumably having been informed ahead of time, in 1982.
Criswell Closes at Strand Theater
Jeron King Criswell, who has been appearing in Long Beach theaters over three weeks, closed his run at the Strand Theater last night. He will devote this week to catching up on questions and answers submitted by Press-Telegram readers for his daily column.
On Wednesday, March 22, Criswell will open at the Lakewood Theater for a four-day appearance and will give a special ladies' matinee March 24, at 1 o'clock. He will open a week’s engagement
March 26 at the Atlantic Theater and will give a ladiesâ€™ matinee March 31.
By 1956, the price of a ticket had climbed to 35 cents. Kids under 12 got in for 9 cents. The vaudeville acts were gone, though. The theater was open from 1 p.m. to midnight.
I’m facinated by the waves on the beach you can see in that 1925 picture. We have no waves today thanks to the huge 7-mile long breakwater built to during WWII. The navy used to park ships behind the breakwater while they were waiting repair at the shipyard. Now the navy shipyard is gone (replaced by a Chinese cargo terminal) and the breakwater serves only to retain the flood of trash dumped into the sea from the LA river every time it rains. Everyone thinks Huntington Beach is “surf city”, but Long Beach was the forerunner, hosting the first national surf contest in 1938. Now the beach is empty nearly year-round. In my opinion, the breakwater slowly strangled beach attractions such as the Pike and led to the deterioration of the city through the 70’s. I live two blocks from the beach and I never put even a toe in the water.
Here is the text of an ad in the Long Beach Independent, dated 5/13/48:
Vaudeville- 2 Big Stage Acts
Bargain Matinee – 25 cents plus tax Daily 12-1
Except Sat Sun Holidays
“Bombers Moon” plus “Immortal Sergeant” with Henry Fonda
There are some interior shots on this page, including a color photo:
Here is the back end of Hoyt’s in 1925:
Here is a 1932 photo:
From the LA Library:
The Strand was originally called Hoyt’s Theatre. It opened in the Teens. It was remodeled in the Twenties, the architect being either William Lee Woolett, who was the architect for Grauman’s Metropolitan (later the Paramount) in Downtown Los Angeles, or at the very least, someone who had access to either his designs or the same supplier of ornamental plaster details. The remodeling of Hoyt’s made the auditorium look like a scaled-down and simplified version of the Metropolitan—with many of the same motifs employed. In its last years, these auditorium details were painted over in pink, aqua, and white.
When Hoyt’s was new, my adopted grandmother, Mary Tolson (Bruce) was a girl. A neighborhood couple “employed” her to be on babysitting duty while they attended a vaudeville and movie show at the theatre. Before it was time for them to leave, Mary kept hinting, “I’ve never been to Hoyt’s Theatre.” She was so persistent in her hinting that finally the couple wound up taking her with them on their date, employing someone else to do the babysitting. Mary is now in her mid-nineties, and her stories of moviegoing in Long Beach played a significant part in my becoming interested in old theatres.
even by the 50’s the strand…which was on the midway of the Pike(an old amusement park)had seen better days….in thos edays Long beach was a Navy town…and a lot of sailors sobered up in the strand9or passed out after visiting places like the New Yorker bar…it showed mostly b-movies…and was long gone by late 60’s when major elements of the fleet left Long Beach and the Pike gradually faded into memoy and gave way to redevelopment