El Rey Theatre

333 W. Main Street,
Alhambra, CA 91801

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Edwards Cinemas, Fox West Coast Theatres, Principal Theaters Corp. of America, United Theaters of California

Architects: Percy A. Eisen, A. R. Walker

Firms: Walker & Eisen

Previous Names: Temple Theater

Nearby Theaters

El Rey Theatre

Opened as the Temple Theater on December 23, 1921. It was later renamed El Rey Theatre. It was equipped with a Wurlitzer 2 manual 4 ranks organ. A few years later another theatre was named the Temple Theatre.

The El Rey Theatre was damaged in a earthquake, and was later razed in the 1980’s.

Contributed by William Gabel

Recent comments (view all 29 comments)

TLSLOEWS on August 25, 2010 at 7:46 pm

Nice looking Marquee at the ElRay.

Mike Rogers
Mike Rogers on August 25, 2010 at 11:12 pm

First things First,when “Frankenstien” played here it was rated X,so they must have gotten an edited version. Marquee is good like Tlsloews said,But I wouldn’t have the ratings “R” and “PG” so large.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on August 26, 2010 at 1:36 am

The marquee Mike and tlsloews admire was installed in the early 1960s, after the Edwards circuit took over operation from Fox West Coast, who had at that time operated the house for well over a decade. Edwards had operated the El Rey for a while earlier, too, under an arrangement with leaseholder Fox.

The 1951 USC photo ken mc linked to above has been moved and is now here. It gives only a glimpse of the side of the older marquee, a boxy, neon affair probably installed in the 1930s. The original, triple-arched entrance of the Temple Theatre, seen in the photo at the top of this page, was long gone by the time I first saw the place.

The architects of the Temple were Walker & Eisen, by the way, as noted in Southwest Builder & Contractor of June 4, 1921. The Temple opened in December, 1921.

davt on March 28, 2013 at 10:46 pm

the El Rey wasn’t demolished until around 1990 if memory serves me correct. I remember the owner exhausted every avenue to try to keep it. Demolishing it was the last resort. I remember they used to have dollar Wednesdays and double Features.

AndrewBarrett on October 5, 2014 at 3:29 am

According to the Judd Walton / Peter Beames Wurlitzer Opus list, The “Temple Theatre” in Alhambra, California had a two manual, four rank Wurlitzer model B theatre pipe organ (opus 487) shipped on November 22, 1921.

This was apparently the second model B that Wurlitzer built.

According to this opus list, the status of the organ is “XX” or unknown.

Does anybody know what happened to this organ (or its parts)?

It doesn’t appear to be mentioned at all in the above-quoted pre-demolition article, making me think that it had already been removed by that time.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on October 5, 2014 at 4:58 am

Andrew: I don’t recall having seen an organ console in the El Rey when I attended movies there at least a dozen times in the late 1950s and early 1960s. But then I don’t think I ever attended the El Rey prior to the installation of the CinemaScope screen in 1954. The screen was quite wide, and if the organ hadn’t been removed earlier it was probably taken out when the screen was installed.

The only old house in the San Gabriel Valley that I know for certain still had an organ in the 1960s was the Rialto in South Pasadena. I believe it’s still there, but it hasn’t been used since being damaged in a fire in the 1970s.

80s_Cinema_kid on June 8, 2016 at 8:39 am

I clearly remember going to El Rey . All the Friday the 13th movies would show at the El Rey
I saw these movies at El Rey
The Buddy Holly Story
Roller Boogie
The Black Hole
I know I went there a few more times . It was across the street from Pedrini Music

Cinema22 on August 23, 2017 at 12:44 am

I saw “Skateboard” at the El Rey in 1978!

PaulMartinez on July 23, 2023 at 1:35 am

I left Monterey Park in 1975, so merely stating some of the films I saw there over the years (as first-run films): I saw a matinee-only screening of “Wizard of Oz” in 1971. That night, they then showed a film called “Sudden Terror” with Mark Lester (Oliver) & Susan George. Other films included Disney flicks like “Million Dollar Duck”, “World’s Greatest Athlete”, “Robin Hood” (the Disney animated film), Disney’s “Alice in Wonderland”, “Lt. Robin Caruso, USN” (a 1973 re-issue), “The Strongest Man in the World”, “The Wild Country” (with Ron Howard), “Escape from the Planet of the Apes”, “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes”, and one time I returned to Alhambra, and saw “Rocky” (the original) there, in 1976. Didn’t see too many scary movies at the El Rey, but in 1973 I did see “Sssssssss” & “The Boy Who Cried Werewolf”, as a double-feature. I loved their “golden curtain” that rose & fell for each film.

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