Ken Cinema

4061 Adams Avenue,
San Diego, CA 92116

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Showing 1 - 25 of 40 comments

GaryMeyer on March 17, 2020 at 3:37 pm

Shortly after the Landmark publicist sent out next week’s bookings to the media they sent out a notice they were closing the theaters because of Coronavirus.

While they will re-open someday at least one won’t survive.  The Ken in San Diego was one of the earliest theaters in the chain, for many years a great rep house. Beloved by the locals it had a Crying Room and  Cigar Room (used for private parties and then storage by the time LTC —-actually called Parallax Theatres then—– got it). A dedicated staff made sure it was a welcoming and fun place to see great movies.

But alas…it is closed now forever unless an angel comes to save it.

A loving editorial that also points out the negatives that the writer didn’t mind.

neeb on February 23, 2020 at 7:49 pm

Closing March 22, 2020.

neeb on February 23, 2020 at 7:48 pm

“After long consideration and much effort, we regret that we are unable to continue operating the Ken Cinema.”

Ftopel on July 19, 2017 at 6:33 pm

Just walked by this theater and took some pics. The movie was on so I couldn’t get the auditorium, but box office, lobby, marquee and an old projector were on display.

monika on March 23, 2016 at 4:56 pm

Just a quick note to point out that the Ken no longer runs carbon arc as is noted in the description above.

markinthedark on April 28, 2014 at 10:53 am

I wish Landmark had had the some reaction to community support when they shut the NuWilshire in Santa Monica, Rialto in Pasadena, Egyptian in Seattle, etc. It seems that rather than having a chain of cozy art house theaters as they want to be another Arclight with venues like The Landmark in West LA.

neeb on April 28, 2014 at 1:45 am

And… it will live!

It’ll be closed from Monday to Thursday and be back on Friday, 02 May 2014.

neeb on April 14, 2014 at 11:13 pm

Today, in things that suck,

This one hurts. In ways I can’t describe, it hurts.

LomaUsher on March 1, 2014 at 9:50 pm

I liked the Ken best during its days as a repertory cinema, with a new double-feature on the bill every day of the week! I remember going in for a film, getting a large cup of Celestial Seasonings orange-spice tea, and settling in. I suppose you still can…but whether the tea is the same or not, I couldn’t say! Great theatre. Also, back in about 1981 or 82, on many Saturday nights a trip to see “Dance Craze” the ska concert-film was the same as going to a concert. The theatre was packed, and everyone was in their seat, then when the music started, the whole place was on their feet and bouncing off the walls. What a great time! I left many molecules off the soles of my Penny-Loafers on the floors and carpets of the Ken!

spliceandthread on January 4, 2013 at 9:14 pm

Just an update as well. They no longer use the carbon arcs or reel to reel. They have a nice 4K digital and a platter system with their 35mm.

exprojector23 on November 27, 2012 at 12:11 am

Sorry, the date you have for the Ken’s inception is wrong. It may have been conflated with the construction date for San Diego’s Hillcrest Theater (later the Guild).

One of the comments in the above link states that a resident “who has lived in Kensington since 1945, says he remembers only a vacant lot on the west half of the 4000-block of south side of Adams Avenue until the theater opened in 1947.”

Other local histories also support a 1947 opening, as does information passed to me by people who worked with the Ken’s Bob Berkum before his retirement in the early 1980s.

Mike (saps)
Mike (saps) on March 21, 2012 at 6:57 pm

Pretty low ceiling in the auditorium!

Here’s a direct link to the photos posted on 8/19/11. (Thanks, Danny.)

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on March 21, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Does anyone have any information on the Ken pre-1947 remodel? Did it actually show movies before then?

Danny Baldwin
Danny Baldwin on August 19, 2011 at 5:52 pm

Lots of photos, including a few interiors, here:

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on March 16, 2011 at 2:35 pm

Can’t make out that One-sheet!

TLSLOEWS on March 14, 2011 at 2:41 pm

Any interior photos?

Knatcal on June 15, 2010 at 6:21 pm

I recently took a weekend trip to San Diego. While in San Diego I wanted to visited any historic theaters that were still left in the city. I was sadden to find out that Ken Cinema was the last single-screen theater in San Diego. of course I had to see film, “ Holy Rollers.” I am happy this theater at least remains.

monika on February 3, 2009 at 4:50 pm

Joe, the cinema may have some filed away, if there’s something specific that you’re looking for you might want to try phoning them or the city office which is at the Hillcrest Cinemas.

BlueLizard876 on February 3, 2009 at 3:39 pm

Does anybody here know any way that I can see some of the old Ken Film calendars from like the 94 – 04 period?

kencmcintyre on October 25, 2008 at 3:08 pm

Advertised as the Ken-Art in the LA Times in March 1967.

monika on April 4, 2008 at 7:52 pm

Ken, the photo you linked was taken in 2003, as the film showing at the time was “Lilya 4 Ever”, which was out in limited release in April of that year. A very disturbing film, though definitely Ken fare. I saw many a disturbing film there over the years, “Fat Girl” and “Julien Donkey Boy” are two examples that come quickly to mind.

I’ve posted this same picture above, though now it’s included on my theatres page on Flickr:
View link

DanChusid on July 20, 2007 at 7:13 pm

The first time I can remember attending the Ken was in the early eighties for a Saturday night
screening of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. There were so many people dressed up as the characters in the movie that I had no idea what to expect. It was my first viewing of this now camp classic and I can remember someone entering with a motorcycle from a door on the front right side, playing the role of the Meatloaf character and the scenes where people tossed toilet paper and rice towards the screen.
Truly an eye-opening experience.
In a few weeks, I’ll be bringing a group of photographers there for a screening of Edward Burtynsky’s movie, Manufactered Landscapes. Looking forward to it.