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Old Posted Aug 23, 2009, 1:20 AM
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sopas ej sopas ej is offline
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Location: South Pasadena, California
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Before and after...

Alhambra, California. A suburb of Los Angeles, founded in the late 1800s, incorporated as a city in 1903. Was mostly a working-class white city, now has a heavy Chinese population, followed by Latinos.

I'm sure the Garfield Theatre, which opened as the Garfield Egyptian in 1924, showed its share of films noir. According to posts on cinematreasures.org, it had a balcony, a Wurlitzer organ, a smoking lounge and cry room for people with babies.

From lapl.org

Somewhere along the way, it looks like the top story or attic was removed, probably after a major earthquake.

By the 1980s, the theater had become run-down, and was showing Chinese language films, catering to the many Chinese that had started living in Alhambra. Here are two views of the theater building from 1983; what I find interesting is the faded painted sign that probably dates from the early days of talkies, mentioning the "Movietone" and "Vitaphone" sound systems.

From americanclassicimages.com


From americanclassicimages.com

In the late 1990s, I believe, the theater went out of business. In 2001, the auditorium was demolished, and the facade of the building was kept and restored, and turned into a strip mall. The movie magic is now gone. You now can't even tell that this ever was a theater.

Photo by me


Photo by me

The backside. They paved paradise and put up a parking lot. With a Yogurtland, a Chinese bank and some handicapped parking spots.

Photo by me

From books.google.com:




Here's a view just east of the theater, looking west, in 1938. Notice the Van de Kamp's bakery windmill on the left, and the Garfield Theatre on the right.

From USC archive

Here's a similar view today. Literally today, when I took the photo myself. I originally wanted to stand in the middle of the street but there were too many crazy Alhambra drivers out. I didn't wanna get killed.


The windmill and tower are gone, but the building that formerly housed the Van de Kamp's bakery is still there. That answers my question as to why it was built in that faux Dutch style. You see structures like that here and there in older parts of the LA area, makes me wonder if they were Van de Kamp's franchises or whatever at one time.



Photo by me

What was once the Van de Kamp's now houses a restaurant called Savoy; I took the photo around noonish, and already there was a line forming to get in. As you can see there's also a Maria's Fashion and Saigon Optical, among other businesses.
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