New Port Theatre

2905 East Coast Highway,
Corona Del Mar, CA 92625

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Showing 26 - 35 of 35 comments

sqxirtgunsuicide on May 8, 2007 at 2:19 pm

This is rediculous. That theater is one of the greatest buildings in Orange COunty. It would make an amazing Venue for local bands. and shows.

Someone please step in and help us

CTCrouch on March 28, 2007 at 10:32 pm

I recently stopped by the theatre to take a few pictures before it’s pending demolition. Even in it’s decaying state, the theatre provides some character to the area. The pealing blue paint, dated hanging sphere light fixtures, and nautical themed signage bring to mind a time when Orange County coastal communities reveled in their off beat nature. Unfortunately, I’m sure the site’s new structure will follow right along with the coast’s homogenization (i.e. yet another tan stucco and glass building with boutique retail on the first floor and offices on the upper levels). Sure, a lot more money will be made with the new building, but the community will lose another bit of the atmosphere that drew them to the area in the first place.

Having said that, I don’t see how anyone could have made a go of this venue in it’s current configuration/state. Beyond the economics of running a single screen, with literally no parking, in a high rent area, the theatre is (was) in need of major renovation. Short of a party, with very deep pockets, taking it on as a gift to the community, there was no way the Port was ever going to be a feasible project. Sad, but true. If only the unique architecture (at least the building face) could be salvaged for the new property, but I definitely wouldn’t hold out the hope anyone would care enough to consider that.

bkazmer on March 22, 2007 at 3:52 pm

Here is the article in the Register:

Thursday, March 22, 2007
Death scene for Port
The ‘50s-vintage cinema is marked for demolition, despite residents’ efforts to salvage it.

NEWPORT BEACH â€" The final credits rolled a decade ago, but the final curtain hadn’t fallen until now.

The historic Port Theater, which closed in 1998 but sought to reopen ever since, will fall victim to the wrecking ball, officials confirmed Wednesday.

The California Coastal Commission approved a demolition permit last week, an agency spokeswoman said, and theater owner Rick Aversano applied for similar clearance through the city Tuesday.

“A lot of people are saddened by it. It’s a shame,” said Troy Marino, who owns a frame shop next to the Port. Customers, he said, have been reminiscing about date nights and necking in the theater’s balcony in the old days. “Another landmark gone,” Marino said.

Opened in the early 1950s, the 900-seat Port thrived for years, first as a mainstream cinema with dramas and Westerns and later as an art house theater screening indie documentaries and anything with subtitles. With no air conditioning, employees would hand out popcorn boxes that doubled as fans on balmy days.

But after multiscreen megaplexes cropped up near and far, the Port went under. Employees put a padlock on the door and the word “Rosebud” on the marquee, a reference to the dying words of the protagonist in “Citizen Kane.”

In closing, the Port joined the ranks of shuttered single-screen cinemas such as the Yost Theatre in Santa Ana, the Mesa Theatre in Costa Mesa and the Surf Theatre in Huntington Beach, to name just a few that have closed over the years.

A residents group called Save the Port formed, unsuccessfully prodding city officials to bail the Port out. Owner Scott Burnham for several years tried to revive the cinema, ultimately selling in 2002, Councilman Ed Selich said.

The new owner, Aversano, tried to sell the building for $4.8 million in recent years and promoted a pre-approved design for a theater and conference center, apparently to no avail. “He had shopped (the concept) to any number of theater people, and it just didn’t pencil out,” said city Planning Director David Lepo.

Aversano, who owns a 20,000-square-foot mansion near the theater, has been active with the Laguna Playhouse and has donated money to Hoag Hospital. He did not return calls for comment.

Lepo and three other city officials said Aversano plans to sell the Port property, after which it might be developed with an office and retail building. No formal plans have been submitted, and the demolition timetable is unknown, Lepo said.

Locals had mixed reactions to the news. Some, noting plywood-covered windows, faded graffiti and peeling baby-blue paint, said good riddance. “Better to be demolished than just sitting around being no benefit to the area,” said Bobby Shaw, owner of a television repair shop behind the Port.

Resident Ann Stonick, on the other hand, reminisced about Swedish films and impromptu serenades by theater employees. “I was very sad when it closed,” she said. “It was a true original.”

Eyeing the Port from her art gallery on Coast Highway, Dana Ridenour glumly gestured to stucco chain shops â€" a Kentucky Fried Chicken, a Subway, a Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf â€" that sprang up around the Port in recent years. The demise of the kitschy old theater was inevitable, she said, given the land’s value.

“Everybody likes the charm and the past,” Ridenour said. “But everybody needs to make money.”

Staff writer Lisa Liddane contributed to this report.

Contact the writer: 714-445-6683 or

Simon Overton
Simon Overton on March 22, 2007 at 8:14 am

On front page of the Mar 22, 2007 Orange County Register are twin photos of the PORT THEATRE with headlines: “IT’S CURTAINS; Death Scene in Script for Port."
Readers can see the For Sale sign on the marquee with a web address for plans:
Some wonderful remodeling plans were designed by the renowned Santa Ana theater architect JOSEPH with a fabulous new facade, but it sems the owner declined to actually want to pay for the restoration… with the hopes (don’t laugh) of the people taking over to fork out the dollars! -Now you can laugh!

BrettMiller on July 30, 2006 at 2:46 pm

Contact Info, for Port Theatre vision for a Light House for the Lord. Brett Miller (949)232-5315

BrettMiller on July 30, 2006 at 2:39 pm

I grew up in CDM on Ocean blvd. in the 70’s, and remember it well. The Port Theatre would be a great place to be a light house for the Lord. What a Land Mark to share the gospel of Christ, to bring healing to those who are sick and lost. A town now where the average person could never afford to live. There was a church that is in the Bible in the book of revalation, this city was called Laodicea, one of the wealthiest of the seven cities. God explains that the town says that “I am rich; i have requirred wealth and do not need a thing. But God says, you do not realize that you are wretched, pitful, poor, blind and naked. God still replys by saying those whom I love i rebuke and discipline. He also says here I Am, I stand at the door and knock. By repenting which is a military term, meaning to turn the other direction, This town could become one of the greatest towns to impact the world, and the Port would be a great place to be that beacon to reach mens hearts.

bkazmer on May 29, 2005 at 6:32 pm

I loved going to the port as a teenager living in CdM (Cameo Shores). It was always a fun place to see a film. The walk from wherever you could find a place to park to the theater was part of that fun. It is so nice to see from MagicLantern’s link that they are going to restore this theater. It’s about time!!!

Runamok on May 18, 2005 at 2:45 pm

I worked for the Port durring it’s Landmark Theater days. I was also at the Balboa when it closed. It was a fun place to work. I had a great staff and I saw the most interesting films.

ElCentroGrad on May 7, 2005 at 5:37 pm

Loved the Port! When A HARD DAY’S NIGHT was released, we filled the place and screamed through the entire film. We needed to see the film several times before we could make sense of those weird English accents. The carpet of the Port usually looked a bit dirty, as I recall. Of course, anyone who did not live at the beach was detainfully identified as “a tourist”. Adults and children walked around town because CdM was small and truly a hometown (nothing built inland of 5th Avenue; nothing south of Cameo Shores; no Fashion Island; no airport — just a helicopter from the Newporter Inn to Disneyland Hotel to LAX). Recall Jamaica Inn? Chef’s Inn? Kau-Kau(spelling?)Corner? Hurley Bell? Bayside/Beach Boy Inn? Ocean Toad? Virginia’s Snip & Stitch (think that was the name). American Market with enormous red/white/blue stripes? In the 1980s we saw a few art films at the rundown Port. Most memorable is TATIE DANIELLE (rent it! buy it!).

MagicLantern on April 28, 2005 at 3:02 am

Here’s the most recent plans for The Port: