Dream Theater

301 Prescott Avenue,
Monterey, CA 93940

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The Dream Theater Sign

This beautiful small theater in Monterey, California was owned by a great couple of guys, one of whom danced with Ann Margaret (as the legend went), thus the very large rendering of her on the side of the theater. It had a certain hip vibe to the overall design that was perfect for the area’s bohemian subculture, but showed near-first-run features for the general population too. I knew one of the guys that owned it, Alan, but cannot recall the partner’s name - the dancer mentioned.

They also had another even more boho cinematic venture on Cannery Row - the Pillow Theater - that was just that: pillows that one would plop down onto on the floor and get cozy. It went the way of the great Cannery Row fire back in the late ‘70s (I think that’s right).

Dragged many friends there to see Warhol’s “Bad” when it played there around 1976.

Contributed by charles sinclair

Recent comments (view all 23 comments)

fanofct on July 23, 2010 at 1:10 pm

Awoke from a sleep bored by a film on T.S. Eliot. Saw it out of hunger. The Dream was by far much more interesting. Beautiful, ornate, art deco tiffany mosaic composed the “DREAM” sign of the theatre, with a beautiful, long-haired woman illustrated as an angel casting the blessing of the sign on the earth called Monterey. Dark, ornate pine wood carved for utility and beauty housed the simple theatre. I recall seeing the film story above with a date, our two-seater “loveseat” bench ensconced — like others across the back wall — with armrest divider allowed us the quiet to which we awoke to an emptied theatre after the last Friday night showingand an usher who said it was, “Ok (to fall asleep and leave late), as we "were cute”.

jbaron on February 16, 2011 at 7:56 pm

I too have many great memories of the Dream Theater. I was a young sailor stationed at DLI from 1985 to 1986. School was easy for me, so I spent all my free time working the lighting for two shows at the Wharf Theater (Annie and You Can’t Take It With You). After the show a bunch of us would stumble down the rocky beach to watch The Rocky Horror Picture Show. We called out the lines from the front row, passing a two liter bottle of rum and a two liter of Coke between us throughout the show. I can only remember two people, Jonathan, and a tall guy who was a DJ at KNRY. I grew up with these people, I sowed my wild oats. The faces and names have gone, but the experiences live in my memories. The whole experience in Monterey was almost surreal for a kid that had never been out of Toledo, Ohio. I had hoped to one day visit the Theater again, but my career took me all over the world, never back to California

opal_1970 on April 19, 2012 at 2:17 am

Similar to MpickensNfamily, I was stationed at DLI 89-90 and just happened to google it today. It is terrible, like finding out a old friend that has not been seen for years has passed away. I have too many memories to even begin to tell of the Dream Theater (E.Rose whereever you are). I can’t believe it is gone. I too always planned to take my family there one day. John Harris, thank-you, thank-you for giving me those memories. I deeply regret that the Dream is over but those memories will be with me to the end.

annamb62 on June 9, 2012 at 7:15 pm

I was at DLI in 80-81 and making my first trip back to that area after 30 years and was so hoping to go to the Dream. I didn’t know at the time that the Pillow Theater was owned by the same people. Bummed that I won’t have an opportunity to visit either of these favorite hang-outs of mine and my friends.

Dakota_Duke on October 18, 2012 at 7:24 pm

Great memories of this beautiful theater from when I was studying Russian at DLI in 1971.

DougieD on January 2, 2013 at 1:37 pm

Very cool place! The “double-seat/booths” were especially unique. You believed that it was just you and your date watching the movie by yourselves. If all the pillows were taken at the “812” theater, this was the place to go!

MWoods on February 11, 2013 at 1:38 pm

Just found this site, great comments and memories.I was lucky enough to find the 812(Rocky Horror/Yellow Sub)and then the Dream.Both places always gave great memories of good times(Mty High'68).Many Years later I was lucky/ unlucky enough to be assisting the demolition co. after they took possesion. I was asked what I might like from the theater after doing the owners a favor.I could not believe they were going to destroy everything!I told them the seats could have been auctioned in the parking lot along w/doors,lites,etc. The demo crew was from out of town- didn’t know anything about either theaters history or importance to locals.Long story short- I rescued all that I could, some light fixtures,the carved solid redwood double front doors, a single door (w/porthole),also the carved vine uprights and crossbeam that were holding up the balcony over the snackbar.(paid crew $100.00 to rem- ove structural beam)I also took cedar shakes from the out side wall and one of the outside porch railings. I wanted to save the whole theater- very sad when the excavators came and started putting it in dumpsters. I think people should know that some of the last remaining remnants of the 812 Cinema and the Dream Theater have been saved,and built into a beautiful barn house next to the Kootenai River, Mt. I’m sad to say we will be putting the house on the market in April. A great opportunity for someone else!

Kozmic on May 9, 2016 at 12:29 pm

I was stationed at Ft Ord in 1979-1981. I loved the Dream Theater. I saw so many great classics there. I’m sad to hear that it was demolished. Why did they close? That place was always busy. I’m in Ohio and we have a 4 screen theater here that was a Dollar Cinema but it closed a couple years ago. I want to see about getting a government grant as a Vet and see if I could remodel this theater and make it look like The Dream. Of course The Rocky Horror Picture Show HAS to be shown every weekend as well as Up In Smoke and Animal House!!

nixie on November 9, 2017 at 7:59 pm

John Harris and Alan Weber are the names you are looking for. :)

He has some film of Ann-Margaret on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=q3xmzQqwPsc) and lots more ‘stuff’ on his web site http://johnharrisfilms.com/ann-margretteri_garrus

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