Waikiki 3

2284 Kalakaua Avenue,
Honolulu, HI 96815

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Showing 26 - 50 of 69 comments

LowellAngell on September 8, 2007 at 2:05 pm

There are a few photos of the Waikiki on the Theatre Historical Society’s website HERE http://www.historictheatres.org/gl-lsa.html

A complete illustrated history of the Waikiki Theatre, “Tropical Dreams,” was published in THS’s quarterly journal MARQUEE [4th Quarter, 2003], written by myself. This back issue is available for purchase online on the THS website HERE View link for $5 plus postage.

The Waikiki was unquestionably the most beautiful theatre ever built in Hawaii and, aruguably, among the most beautiful in the U.S. for its unique tropical Moderne style. Those of us who were fortunate to have been there in its heyday, or even in its last days, treasure the experience and memory of it.

Vito on July 10, 2007 at 8:18 am

People shouid know that the theatre entrance remained just as beautiful as it is shown in the postcard until the tragic end.
The article also mentions two theatres were “added” in 1969, of course this refers to the twin theatres that were built around the corner on Seaside ave while the original theatre remained a single screen.

Roloff on July 10, 2007 at 8:04 am

Oops, here’s a link: View link

Roloff on July 10, 2007 at 8:03 am

I’ve uploaded a nice old postcard to my Flickr stream, I have no clue from when, I think between late thirties, but it might very well be in it’s opening year, which happens a lot with Cinema Postcard photography.

Vito on July 4, 2007 at 4:08 am

I live in New York now, but will be “coming home” in late winter.
I will be brave and visit the former site of #3 and the twins.
In fact I plan on doing a graveyard tour of the Royal, Cinerama and Kuhio as well. Should be very depressing. But, at least I was there during the hey-day, and still have many happy memories.
Especially #3 with the Friday Saturday organ music between shows and those packed houses emjoying the show in that most magnificent theatre.

bobosan on July 3, 2007 at 7:47 pm

Glad you enjoyed it, Vito. You should drop by and take a look at the mementos they have there, you’d find those enjoyable.

Vito on July 3, 2007 at 5:47 am

bobosan, thanks so much for that link and website. I very much wanted to see the ole girl since the demolition but was afraid to look. I thought it would be too painfull after all the wonderful years I spent working that grand theatre.
It’s hard to believe that there are now no theatres left in Waikiki proper. It all began in 1982 with the closing of the Royal, followed by Kuhio and Waikiki 1-2-3. So sad.

bobosan on July 3, 2007 at 3:17 am

Here is a website I created showing what replaced the Waikiki Theater:


ErikH on June 21, 2005 at 9:38 am

Regarding the status of the shuttered Waikiki 1-3 and the IMAX auditorium (from the 6/21/05 edition of the Honolulu Advertiser):

Full-time, year-round circus on tap in Waikiki

By Andrew Gomes
Advertiser Staff Writer

A troupe of contortionists, acrobats and high-wire artists is coming to Waikiki with plans to dazzle visitors and residents with regular performances in the former IMAX theater on Seaside Avenue.

Mystika Hawaii LLC recently signed a multiyear lease with landowner Robertson Properties Group and is expected to begin twice-daily shows as early as next spring in a deal that will add another new attraction to O'ahu’s primary visitor destination.

“It’s really going to add a nice entertainment flavor to the area, not only for tourists but for the local people,” said Greg Swedelson, Robertson Properties vice president of acquisitions and leasing.

Details of the show are being kept under wraps by Mystika’s Florida-based organizers, but it will be sort of a “mini Cirque du Soleil” with vaudeville-style acts including gravity-defying stunts and other amazing human performances, Swedelson said.

Mystika is affiliated with the Moscow State Circus, a traveling troupe out of Sarasota, Fla., that has toured in Hawai'i. But Jamie Brown, a local real-estate broker who represented Mystika, said the new show will be of a higher caliber than Moscow State Circus acts.

“It is completely different,” Brown said. “It’s going to be much more like a Vegas Cirque du Soleil kind of show.”

Mystika is expected to provide the Florida-based group another show with a more permanent venue, while adding a new attraction to the wave of renovation and redevelopment of Waikiki hotels, shopping centers, roads and beaches over the past several years.

Rick Egged, executive director of the Waikiki Improvement Association, said Mystika will complement the handful of live productions that include comedy, magic, music and Polynesian shows.

“I think it’s a great addition to our entertainment fare,” he said.

The IMAX theater, which opened in 1991 with a towering screen and 420 seats, was closed two years ago by Consolidated Amusement Co., a Robertson Properties affiliate that acquired the theater in 1999 from Utah-based Destination Cinema.

Robertson Properties is Consolidated’s real-estate development sister company, replacing the Waikiki III theater on Kalakaua Avenue with a two-story retail complex housing Foot Locker, California Pizza Kitchen, Whaler’s Market, a steak-and-seafood restaurant and about 80 kiosks.

The California-based development company also is seeking a large retail tenant to occupy the former Waikiki I and II theater building next to the IMAX on Seaside. Swedelson said Robertson Properties is talking to a couple of big-box retailers for the 26,265-square foot site, but it is still available.

marcusexp on April 27, 2005 at 3:41 pm

To answer your question, Bklyn Cinemas, a FOOT LOCKER and a PIZZA PARLOR !!! I used to like Foot Locker and California Pizza Kitchen;
you can be sure I will never buy another shoe at any Foot Locker nor
and any more pizzas at any California Pizza Kitchen location!

Speaking about Brooklyn, I assume you are from New York. Any possibility that the great BEEKMAN THEATRE in New York will be saved? It is still open and in perfect shape; however, I understand the wrecking ball is scheduled this year. Like the Waikiki, it is listed in the Library of Congress photos.

R143 on April 27, 2005 at 9:23 am

This is a true sad event. I passed by this theater about 5 or 6 years ago, although was never inside.
Very sad that such a gem is now gone. What is coming in its place?

marcusexp on April 19, 2005 at 10:40 am

Hard to believe architect C.W. Dickey’s theatre masterpiece is now
just a pile of rubble.

Vito on April 19, 2005 at 5:50 am

Scott, I am not surprised to hear those amplifiers are still cooking. Joe Schmidt (remember him) and I installed them all over Oahu in most of the Royal theatres. They were his design, very reliable, inexpensive, and put out a very nice quality. I actually moved a couple of them from the Royal, when it closed, to the newly twinned King theatre. I donated the blue travelor curtain to a local high school to dress up their stage, and the gold curtain was
moved to the Kapiolani. I got away from Consolidated before the axe fell, I heard Sol retired, and last I heard, Wes was managing the Pearlridge. Too bad you are not in Hawaii to help with the organ removal. I am sure they could use your expert advice about doing it carefully and with respect. It was a great place to work in those days, lots of magnificent theatres. I miss that.

ScottBosch on April 18, 2005 at 8:22 pm

I can imagine…Lloyd Myers was very proud of that theatre and rightly so. Sol retired many years ago. Wes is still around…he’s managing a theatre now after being downsized (as I was). Believe it or not, I have several of the former Royal power amplifiers in my living room.

And of course, who as a projectionist at the Waikiki, myself included, could forget Mr. Richards. Much of the old “Earthquake” sound equipment survived many years before before being chewed up by termites. I could always tell if I was on time for work at the Waikiki if the earthquake was happening just as I was getting out of the elevetor in the parking garage. The Waikiki was the last bastion of showmanship in the islands…the ambiance, the lighting, the organ…the likes of it will never be seen again on a regular basis.

My friend in Hawaii reports that day 5 of the the demolition seemed to concentrate on taking down the pipe organ cnambers…with great difficulty!

Vito on April 18, 2005 at 4:09 am

Great hearing from you Scott! Westley, Sol and I dismantled the Royal when it was sold. It was a very unpleasant experience, being a part of killing it and watching it die was very sad. I hope never to have to do that again.

We had fun at #3 with “Earthquake” in Sensurround and running the spotlight for dear ole John on the weekends. It sure was lonely up that projection room late at night. Of course, who could forget the great “Buck” Richards, our beloved manager and his Aloooooooooooha.

ScottBosch on April 17, 2005 at 3:56 pm

Hey there Vito…yep…remember the Royal very well. Last time I was on the property it was a Perry Boys Smorgy. Don’t know what it is now. I left Honolulu for Hilo in 2000, left Hilo for the Pacific Northwest (where I am now) in 2003.

Vito on April 17, 2005 at 3:42 am

Hi Scott,Yup I heard the same thing. It’s hard to believe all the Waikiki thetares, #1,#2,#3,Cinerama and Kuhio are all gone.
Remember the Royal? (also gone)

ScottBosch on April 16, 2005 at 2:37 pm

My goodness…seems a couple former co-workers are posting here. Received word from a friend in Honolulu that demolition has begun. Won’t be long now and the location will be just another retail space on Kalakaua Ave.

teecee on March 1, 2005 at 6:35 am

Old interior photos of the Waikiki Theater:
View link

Vito on February 22, 2005 at 3:42 am

Charles, it’s happening all over the country, beautiful old theares are being torn down. Waikiki is especially troubling to me since God knows they do not need any more retail space on kalakaua. I would have thought perhaps it could be preserved much like the Hawaii for film and,with an added stage space,live shows. Sadly, on my next trip to Hawaii there will be yet another grave site for me to visit.

Vito on February 21, 2005 at 3:48 am

Charles, I was there for the twining of the Kuhio. I worked it as a single screen, and later, with my friend Ron, as a twin. Kuhio was a 70mm house and had a couple of roadshows there although most of them were at the Cinerama. The Varsity is already a twin, do they want to resore it or keep it open as is?

savethesutton on February 20, 2005 at 5:32 pm

THis is horrible horrible news. and what… for a Footlocker. IS there anything that can be done to stop the horrible demoliton. A slice of Hawaiian culture is going to disappear

Vito on February 19, 2005 at 5:21 am

No Patsy, I am retired now and live in New York. I have many friends in Hawaii and visit often. Sadly, most of the theatres I worked in,
Waikiki 1,2,3, Cinerama, Royal, Kuhio are gone. The Varsity still exsists, but it is a twin now and I hear it’s on it’s last legs.
I am happy to see the Hawaii has been restored and is used mostly for live events.

Patsy on February 18, 2005 at 7:16 am

vito: Cute story and aloha! And thanks for your many years of service as a theatre projectionist! BTW, are you in Hawaii still?

Vito on February 18, 2005 at 3:45 am

He he, no Patsy did not see any ghosts, but it was at times a very lonely job. I used to think the world could come to an end and I would not know it. Sometimes at #3, except for maybe an usher bringing me a soda, during a double shift I was alone for 12 hours a day. The booth was three flights up, so even the manager rarely came up to visit. We would never start the movie until the manager called on the intercom to say it was ok to start. I can still hear manager Buck Richards, at about 11pm when it was time to start the last show of the day, call and say “ok vito,let’s go home” to which I would reply “AL ooooooooo ha”