Comments from Dennisb

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Dennisb commented about El Rey Theatre on Apr 28, 2006 at 7:32 pm

Well, Joe, in the early 40s I spent a good bit of time in that old building when my dad worked for the National Life and Accident Insurance Company (merged in the 1970s). As I recall the entry to the building was on Garfield, not Main. At least as I think back about 60+ years, I seem to remember walking in with my dad on the Garfield side – just about where the awning is missing between the first three and the fourth. Once in, you took a short walk straight ahead and there was one of those elevators with a door that was made of crossed metal pieces that folded up when you opened it and expanded, sort of like an accordian, when you closed it. As I recall, his office was on the 2nd floor, but I cannot remember what side of the building. Also, in the 40s, I cannot remember the big Owl Drug Company sign. Could it have been gone by then? In your day, do you remember the Owl Drug Company sign? If so, then I was mistaken.

I know where Potrero Heights is, but know nothing about the community since the closest I ever got to it was just driving through once or twice.

Recently, I had a most interesting exchange with the President of the Alhambra Historical Society. I sent her a description of a place my mom used to take me when I was about six or seven (1943-44) and asked her if any of the members could tell me where it was just from my description. In about two weeks I got a nice letter from her telling me it was Story Park in Alhambra. Turns out that in Story Park there used to be a “plunge” (called the “plunge” instead of the more common place “pool” these days). Well she enclosed a copy of the “plunge.” That was strange opening her letter, seeing that pic of taken from the interior of the “plunge” and instantly remembering all that time I spent there.

I actually attended Alhambra High School for a year and a half, from 1952-1954, just before my dad transferred to Nashville, Tennessee. Once I subscribed to, but dropped my membership when I found out how many things you want to do that you can only do by subscribing to their “Gold” or some other membership level.

Good to hear from you again, Joe

Dennisb commented about El Rey Theatre on Jan 16, 2006 at 8:15 am

Joe, it is always tempting to talk of the “good ole days.” After reading this article, I now realize how good it was sitting in the lodges at the old El Rey Theatre during the Saturday Matinee. I just never realized it at the time.

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Dennisb commented about El Rey Theatre on Jan 13, 2006 at 1:45 am

Joe, I have enjoyed our brief exchanges here. You have brought to mind many memories, few of which relate to the main topic of this web site. So, I will not pollute the Cinema Treasures web site by posting them here. You have also caused me to be reminded that many of the details of events that are now about sixty years in the past are not as sharp as they once were.

I sense that you are not overly familiar with the area around Adelyn Drive, Roses Rd and San Marino Blvd in San Gabriel. That is where Washington Elementary School is and is the neighborhood I grew up in. Whenever I am in that area, I stop by and am amazed by the fact that so little has changed over all these years. Everything is just as it was; almost as if the old neighborhood fell into a time warp of some sort and just remained unchanged. That is one of the joys of my life being able to go back there every once in a while.

An interesting note – when I first returned to the old neighborhood, it seemed much smaller. It was not until several years later that I realized that was due to my having been driving a bicycle when I left and driving a car upon my first return.

Please do post anything further you recall about the old theatres, Joe. Although I attended the single screen Alhambra theatre many times, I do not recall much about its interior and have a hard time even thinking about it now when standing in front of what must be a 10-12 screen theatre that has taken its place.

In one of your posts, I recall you mentioned the installation of Cinemascope in the El Rey Theatre, but could not recall exactly when that took place. My recollection is having seen “Beneath the 12 Mile Reef” (Gilbert Roland, Terry Moore, Robert Wagner) on the big screen at (I believe) the El Ray Theatre. If it was the El Ray (and I believe it was), that would have been 1953 when that movie was released.

Dennisb commented about El Rey Theatre on Jan 11, 2006 at 1:27 pm

Joe, you have an encyclopedic memory of Alhambra in those days. I will guess that you stayed close to the area during the years you mentioned and as a result have an uninterrupted recollection of the changes you mentioned. Thanks much for straightening out my memory. I think you are right in that the Ritz and Rialto were not in Alhambra, but in South Pasadena. It must have been the El Ray that I attended matinees in during the mid to late ‘40s. You mentioned the Owl Drug Store on the northwest corner of Garfield and Main. As I recall, the building on that corner was a two or three story building for my father worked in the National Life and Accident Insurance Company office up on the second floor. I recall that to go from floor 1 to floor 2, you got in one of those old elevators that had the accordian type door that you pulled open and closed by yourself. In the event you ever collected stamps, do you recall old man Winkler’s stamp shop on the west side of Garfield about three doors south of the southwest corner of Garfield and Main? Many an hour I spent there. Were the cartoon drawings of Olive, Blutto, Wimpy and Popeye still chasing each other around the walls of the Bun 'n Burger when you had your first hamburger there?

Where did you happen to live during those days, Joe? My family lived on various streets in Alhambra (Almansor Stret)and in San Gabriel (Adelyn Drive, Alabama St. and in Mercury Park not far north of the Mission) Sorry to have gotten off the theatre topic, but those theatres just brought out a flood of memories of my early school days in San Gabriel

Dennisb commented about El Rey Theatre on Jan 11, 2006 at 3:53 am

Joe, during 1944-1952, I went to the movies down on Main St. in Alhambra and seem to recall the name of one or two of the movie houses I went to to have been the Ritz and / or the Rialto Theatres. Yet, according to what is posted above, the El Rey Theatre was open during these same years. I recall that as you went east out Main Street (toward to old single screen Alhambra Theatre), the theatre was about a block beyond Garfield Blvd on your right hand side. Further, before each Saturday matinee, an organist played live music down in front of the stage on a very large organ. Can you please help me sort out what Theatre (s) I am thinking of? I also have vivid memories of the Bun ‘n Burger in 1943-1949 if you are interested. The place is still there and I have returned many times over the intervening 63 years for burgers that still taste the same, I am told because they are still cooked on the same grill.