Granada Theatre

1216 State Street,
Santa Barbara, CA 93101

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Showing 1 - 25 of 35 comments

JRHagan on April 6, 2020 at 1:41 pm

According to Rudy Behlmer’s audio commentary on the Legacy Collection DVD The Granada Previewed the original Frankenstein on October 29th 1931.

DavidZornig on January 25, 2019 at 7:14 pm

Vimeo link with the history of the Granada.

DavidZornig on May 13, 2017 at 7:07 pm

1967 photo added courtesy of the AmeriCar The Beautiful Facebook page.

stevenj on October 3, 2016 at 3:56 pm

Interior and exterior photos added.

Mikeyisirish on June 26, 2012 at 5:04 pm

A few 2011 photos can be seen here and here.

bojeta on June 18, 2011 at 11:03 am

Anyone have some good photos of the theater before the big vertical Granada sign was installed? I know during the 40’s and 50’s it was the Warner theater. The first movie I remember seeing there Hard Days Night in the 60’s. I also remember seeing THX1138 there before anyone knew who George Lucas was.

kvnsct69 on July 11, 2008 at 9:42 pm

One of my favorite memories is my grandmother taking me to see “Mary Poppins” at this theatre in the 1960s. I will never forget it. And then we saw “The Sound of Music” at The Arlington. Two fantastic theatres.

HalConklin on March 26, 2008 at 2:31 am

The Granada was reborn on March 6, 2008, with a Gala event, highlighting the theater as the new home of the Santa Barbara Symphony, Santa Barbara Ballet, Santa Barbara Opera, Community Arts Music Association, UCSB Arts & Lectures, and three producers of Broadway shows. The architectural restoration is a masterpiece, and the acoustics are remarkable.

CHunt on January 28, 2008 at 9:05 pm

If you have memories of the old Granada, please send them to:

We’ll put the best ones up on our website!

bhamber on January 25, 2008 at 6:40 pm

Attention! March 9th free Open House of Granada’s extensive restoration. Just the rare event Cinematreasure fans will love to experience. See if you need “proof” the drive up from LA will be worthwhile.

According to homepage:
The Opening Celebrations kick off with a tribute to the theatre’s Hard Hats March 4th. The Opening Gala follows on the 6th, featuring performances by the theatre’s resident companies… Then on Sunday the 9th, the entire community will have a chance to tour the new theatre at a free Open House. The series concludes March 14th with a special performance by Natalie Cole presented by The Granada and Jacalyn Kane Productions and sponsored by SAGE Publications.

Shocked no one has posted this news before now.

Knatcal on July 25, 2007 at 2:13 pm

On my recent trip to Santa Barbara I was lucky enough to see a film at the nearby Arlington Theatre. On my way there I walked by the Granada Theater. The facade of the building is scafolded however the front of the building was open and the interior of the building was visible. It looked like much of the interior had been removed. I never went to the Granada Theater but I would have loved to have seen it in its hay day.

artslover on April 29, 2007 at 10:32 am

The Granada Restoration Project-read all about it here:

Coate on April 22, 2007 at 8:49 pm

Here’s a page of photos taken during 2006. There’s also a newspaper ad for when the GRANADA began showing movies in 70mm.

View link

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on January 4, 2007 at 9:56 pm

Gotta say that I like the Warner Bros. marquee. I think an authentic interesting replacement marquee in good repair is better than a decent replica of the original. My two cents.

GaryParks on January 4, 2007 at 9:07 pm

The back of the Granada as of late December ‘06 looks much like the photo in the previous post, except for some new concrete substructure being put in place. The new facilities being built underneath the historic auditorium look extensive.

While the replica of the original 1920s marquee which is going to be put on the facade is a nice piece of design, I am going to miss the streamlined marquee which Warner Bros. put on the theatre and which has remained until today. I remember how amazing it looked in the mid-80s when I first saw it at night. Nearly every tube was working.

The vertical sign is going to remain and be restored, thankfully.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 7, 2006 at 11:16 am

Edhat Santa Barbara : Granada Building

January 6, 2005 – Ed Takes the Stairs

Last week, Ed had a friend visiting from New York. As they ambled along on the classic sightseeing tour of Santa Barbara; the frog shrine, the UCSB Student Health Center, Mel’s, Mountain Drive, oh, you know the drill, they found themselves walking along State Street. Ed’s friend commented on the lack of tall buildings in our fair city, so Ed decided to wow him with the tallest. Into the Granada Building they marched, and through the fire door to the stairwell. “You call this tall?” Ed’s friend asked. Ed looked up and snapped his cool picture. “Yep.” He replied.

While eight stories is nothing by most big city standards, you can see the Granada from almost anywhere in Santa Barbara.

It is, as they say, a landmark. Yesterday, the dedicated staff of decided to find out more about the historic Granada Building. We checked the archives and with our friends at the Historical Society.

A contractor named CM Urton built the Granada Building in 1920. The story goes that CM had never built a high rise before, so he sent away for a bunch of how-to books to help him out. It was like the 1920’s version of High Rise Construction for Dummies. Apparently he did a good job. The building was completed and opened in 1924. A year later in the aftermath of the 1925 earthquake, much of downtown Santa Barbara was in shambles. The Granada only suffered cosmetic damage. Shortly thereafter, CM posted a sign on the building saying that he was the builder.

Through the years, the Granada Theatre, housed on the first floor of the building, has had a glamorous run.

During the early and middle parts of the last century, world-class musical venues as well as world premier movies (Gone With the Wind) brought celebrities and paparazzi, and helped to put Santa Barbara on the map as a cultural center. The offices on the other seven floors have been home-away-from-home to many Santa Barbara businesses. Santa Barbara dot-com superstars Silicon Beach, Value Click, and (Edhat’s parent company) all have hung their shingle there. A little trivia – the fourth floor office which currently houses Lois Capps’ home-away-from-Washington, was previously occupied by two guys who bought and sold broccoli (not kidding).

But time has a way of taking the shine off the penny, and over the last twenty years, the carpet has faded and the walls have gotten dingy.

There is good news. The offices have already been remodeled. And, through gift and donation, the Santa Barbara Center for the Performing Arts was able to purchase the theater, and now the Granada is going through a renovation project, which promises to bring back the enchantment of the glory days.

The other news is that only one of our dedicated subscribers was able to correctly identify the location of the photo in yesterday’s contest. The most common guess we received was that it was a photo of a piece from the Santa Barbara Museum of Art. Ed thanks you. The funniest guess we got was that the picture was of the men’s room mirrors in the Holiday Inn. In any case, Peg S correctly identified the location of the photo as the stairwell of the Granada Building, and is the lucky winner of an Edhat Classic t-shirt, in the style of her choice. Peg can come by the Edhat office at 2027 De La Vina any Monday through Thursday from nine to noon to pick it up. Congratulations, Peg!

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bojeta on August 7, 2006 at 10:16 am

Yes, it’s being renovated. Don’t know the details, but you can see a couple more pics at View link

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on August 6, 2006 at 9:37 am

Not familiar with the situation but it sure looks that way.

bojeta on July 18, 2006 at 1:44 am

Anyone remember the giant ants walking up the side of the Granada when Guy Guden broadcast Space Pirate Radio from there? That was back in the `70’s. I remember going up to his broadcast station with my brother. One tiny room. I think it was on the 6th or 7th floor. Reminded me of something out of a Sam Spade novel (the room that is. Guy was nothing like Sam Spade!).

Jeff Hall
Jeff Hall on April 11, 2006 at 8:33 pm

I worked at the State, Granada and Arlington Theater from 1961-1965 while attending Brooks Institute of Photography. I was a great job.
While working at the Granada I saw “bye Bye Birdie” as a sneak preview. When “Under the Yum Yum Tree” as there as a sneak preview, Jack Lemon was there. Peral Baily, Victor Borge and Vienna Boy’s Choir gave live performances at the Granada. I remember helping The Vienna Boy’s Choir pack their luggage. I also remember running around under the stage and orchestra pit. I was so much fun.
Glad to share this with you.
Jeff Hall

JackCoursey on September 14, 2005 at 6:42 pm

Here are a couple of recent photos of the Granada View link

MagicLantern on July 8, 2005 at 9:36 pm

There is a photograph – with a radically different marquee much like the current Arlington’s – of this theatre in 1924 in one of the booth’s at Joe’s Steakhouse, just south of the theatre on State Street.

MagicLantern on December 28, 2004 at 5:03 am

The wall dividing the balcony was removed earlier last year and those screens were removed; they’re currently showing art of some kind in the lobby so it’s kind of open.

Ken Roe
Ken Roe on December 14, 2004 at 9:15 pm

The architect of the Granada Theater was A.B. Rosenthal and the seating capacity on opening was given as 1,870.

It opened on 9th April 1924 with the movie “Mademoiselle Midnight” starring Mae Murray. On stage was Theodore Kosloffs Ballet Company accompanied by a 25 piece orchestra and a 4 Manual/17 Rank Wurlitzer theatre pipe organ.

In 1981 the theater was tripled and the main screen in the orchestra stalls had 910 seats, while up in the balcony it had been split into two screens, each seating 225.