Let’s Sneak into California’s most Beautiful Art Deco Cinemas

By

14th May, 2014

The credits have rolled on the last late-night screening, the box office curtain is closed, the ushers have done their rounds and popcorn machines are turned off. Now is our chance; we emerge from our hiding place in the back row. The cinema is ours.

paramount1

This is the sort of private tour that French photographer Franck Bohot likes to take you on when hunting for California’s most incredible Art Deco spaces …

The Paramount, Oakland

paramount3

paramount2

paramount5

paramount4

paramount8

paramount6

paramount7

paramount9

paramount10

Oakland’s Paramount Theatre is one of the finest remaining examples of Art Deco design in the United States. Completed in 1931, after its initial brief blaze of “movie palace” glory in the 1930′s, this remarkable auditorium suffered three decades of neglect and decline until its rescue by the Oakland Symphony, the City of Oakland and numerous private donors. A painstaking and authentic restoration was completed in 1973 and the theatre was entered in the National Register of Historic Places, and in 1976  the Paramount Theatre became a California Registered Historic Landmark and in 1977, was declared a National Historic Landmark. The theatre hosts a year-round schedule of popular music concerts, variety shows, theatre, and of course, movies. Website / Facebook

 

 

Orinda Theatre, Orinda, CA

orinda

orinda2

orinda1

The Orinda Theatre was opened in 1941 and later slated for demolition in 1984 before it was saved through the efforts of preservationists and reopened in 1989. Two additional screens were added, one of which features mural saved from the Garden Theatre in San Jose when it was demolished.  The original lobby and main theatre were left intact as they were built in 1941.

Website

 

 

The Crest Westwood, Los Angeles, CA

crest

crest3

crest1

Opened in 1940 as a stage venue called the Westwood Theatre, it went through several changes in ownership, name, and design over the next seven decades before closing its doors in 2011. (This, in spite of the fact that it had been declared a Cultural Historical Monument three years earlier). Since its re-opening in 2013, the theatre is sure to stand out from the multiplex crowd.

Website / Facebook

 

 

The Grand Lake Theatre, Oakland

grandlake

This cinema has been around since 1926, before talking pictures replaced Vaudeville shows and silent films. On Tuesdays, you can see any film here for $5.

Website.

 

 

The Alameda, San Francisco

almeda

Built in 1932 in Alameda, California, it was the last grand movie palace built in the San Francisco Bay Area. It closed in the 1980s as a triplex theatre and was later used as a gymnastics studio. A restoration and expansion project was completed in 2008, making the historic theater the primary anchor of an eight-screen multiplex.

Website

almeda1

 

Discover more fantastic wide empty spaces by Franck Bohot.

You Might Also Like

Comments

More in Conversation StartersDon't Be A TouristEditor's PicksForget ParisInspiration VaultLife is MessyLost & FoundMovie / Music / Book JunkieMy Secret ParisNostalgiaObscure historyOff-Beat & Little KnownPeople / Icons / MusesTime travel

Hot Off the Press

Editor's Picks

SONY DSC

10 of the Most Fantastical Burning Man Creations

This week, an otherworldly gathering in the desert is taking place in the Black Rock Desert of Northern Nevada. A celebration of life, earth and all the incredible things we're capable of building and...

Trending 9,975
johnies

Hollywood Ghost Diner

I've been on the lookout for a truly authentic 1950s diner since I arrived in California. I finally found it, driving down Wilshire Boulevard and screeching to a halt as soon as I locked eyes o...

Trending 7,897
featureclub

My LA Boogie Nights Bar

After 24 hours in the city of Angels, I had yet to find the perfect LA hangout I was looking for. I have this romantic vision of Angelinos hanging out on seventies lawn chairs in their backyards wi...

Trending 4,193
phantomlake

Unmasking the Parisian Phantom of the Opera

What if I told you there is a lake under the Paris Opera House, just like in The Phantom of the Opera? Down, down, down, deep underneath the Garnier Opera in a dingy room with a square-shaped hol...

Trending 20,202
mecaniquefeature

The San Francisco Antique Playground

This might sound odd, but I'm not really a museum buff. I generally find that if something is behind a barrier or kept in a glass box where I can't pick it up or touch it, I won't linger very long i...

Trending 4,946