Alameda Theatre

2317 Central Avenue,
Alameda, CA 94501

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Alan Bell
Alan Bell on January 13, 2019 at 3:01 pm

The theater was designed by architect Timothy Pflueger who also designed the Alhambra and the Castro in San Francisco; and the Paramount in Oakland. The Alameda was built in 14 months at a cost of $500,000.

rivest266 on August 13, 2018 at 10:03 am

Reopened with three screens on March 12th, 1975. Ad in photo section.

RobbRatto on February 21, 2014 at 4:29 pm

I’m happy to say, as the Alameda Theatre and Cineplex nears its 6th anniversary (in May of this year), the theatre couldn’t be in better shape. I visited this site today for the first time in years. Looking back at all the comments, I had to laugh out loud when I read the remarks of the nay sayers who posted on this site. They all seem so trivial and petty in light of the great success of the project.

All eight screens now feature digital projection and state of the art sound. Seeing a movie, especially in the original main theatre, is a treat. By the way, the popcorn with butter is fantasitc.

The theatre is ramping up for their classic film series. To see the schedule go to which will lead you to the theatre’s web site. They have a numbe of great movies lined up.

Enjoy the movies.

Best Regards,
Robb Ratto
Executive Director
Park Street Business Association

woodrowe on January 9, 2014 at 9:12 pm

I believe this is the theater where my mother was employed as an “usherette” when Gone With The Wind" came out. I am so happy to know that this wonderful theater has been restored! I remember red velvet everywhere and gold embellishments. I can almost smell the popcorn when I see these lovely pictures. Thank you so much!

Mikeyisirish on June 27, 2012 at 10:22 am

A few 2011 photos can be seen here and here.

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on April 12, 2012 at 10:46 pm

The restoration of the original Alameda Theatre to a single screen and the addition of seven additional screens was designed by the Seattle firm The Henry Architects. Their cinema projects slide show includes four photos of the Alameda Cinema.

e4kbb on November 11, 2010 at 2:43 am

Curtain continued:
restoration and was well acquainted with
its needs. She had soon prepared a
stencil of the design to be transferred
onto new fabric.
Theatre operator Conner collaborated
with local upholsterer Jimmy Luque to
find the perfect curtain fabric,
eventually selecting Turkish velvet.
After Ms. Bruhl creates a newly painted
curtain panel and it is attached to the
existing curtain, the curtain will be back
to itself again.
To learn more about the historic
Alameda Theatre, visit

e4kbb on November 11, 2010 at 2:42 am

Re: Curtain from the Alameda Business Update 10/25/2010:
The Theatre’s original, elaborately handpainted
screen curtains were central to its
design when it opened in the 1930’s.
Eventually, the right-hand stage curtain fell
into disrepair, sustaining irreparable water
damage. When the Restoration Project began
in 2000, replacement fabric was used to
complete the curtain.
This year, the City and Alameda
Entertainment Associates’ Kyle Conner began
a search for the right fabric – and the right
artist – to recreate the lost curtain piece.
Among several candidates for the job, Bay
Area artist Beate Bruhl was chosen to copy the
fabric’s intricate design and paint it onto new
fabric. Ms. Bruhl had worked with the crew to
gold-leaf the Theatre during its 2008
See Theatre

e4kbb on May 18, 2010 at 6:05 pm

Thanks for your photos Will— they are fabulous! Wish we could get them substituted for the photo at the top of this page.

darquil on April 25, 2010 at 2:42 am

I’ve posted information and photos from several recent visits:

darquil on March 22, 2010 at 2:40 am

Per the auditorium maximum occupancy signs, seating counts for the various auditoriums are as follows:
1 – 433 (the historic theater)
Downstairs screens:
2 – 137
3 – 133
4 – 139
Upstairs screens:
5 – 189
6 – 178 (3-D enabled)
7 – 169
8 – 82
Total seats: 1460
The mezzanine is currently closed to the public; it’s possible that the balcony seating has its own occupancy, in addition to the 433 seats I list for screen 1.

plinfesty on January 24, 2010 at 12:13 am

quote: When the Alhambra in San Francisco was de-twinned, and restored to its original condition, the curtain was not closed as well. I asked why to the Management of both. It was interesting of the responses I received. The Alhambra Manager replied, “closing the curtain went out with Mickey Mouse”

What an odd explanation. Because when the Alhambra in SF was twinned it actually HAD waterfall red velvet curtains on both sides of the twinned theatre…and they were still working, at least in 1976.

e4kbb on January 7, 2010 at 9:39 pm

There will be a talk by Therese Poletti, on Timothy Pflueger, the architect of this theater as well as 11 others around California, sponsored by the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society on January 24 at 6 p.m. Ms. Poletti wrote a book on this architect called “Art Deco San Francisco: The Architecture of Timothy Pflueger”. The lecture will be hosted by the Alameda Theatre in the main, historic auditorium. Please see for more information, and also .

kencmcintyre on April 7, 2009 at 9:13 pm

Here is an item from the Oakland Tribune, 2/12/73:

The Alameda Theater has been purchased by Robert Lippert’s Affiliated Theater Service, which plans to refurbish the theater but not change the building’s Alhambra-style design. The theater at Central Avenue and Park Street was built in 1932 by the same architect and contractor who built Oakland’s Paramount Theater. Until recently it was owned by the Nasser family.

Lippert, a native of Alameda, said he plans to reduce the main floor seating capacity from 1,350 to 750, installing new seats and widening isles. New seats will also be installed in the balcony. Lippert also owns the East Bay’s Showcase Theaters in the Rockridge shopping center, in Alameda and Fremont.

kencmcintyre on January 21, 2009 at 9:18 pm

That one works. Nice color photo.

kencmcintyre on January 21, 2009 at 8:51 pm

I can’t access that one.

Life's Too Short
Life's Too Short on November 20, 2008 at 6:12 pm

As far as I can see this hasn’t been posted yet, and it is freakin' sweet:

lake95464 on August 30, 2008 at 2:49 pm

The Alameda Theatre, was refurbished beautifully. It was extremely disappointing to walk into this theatre with the curtains not closed. It ruined the atmosphere. I attended the Alameda regularly, I remember when the balcony was being converted to two theatres, they still showed movies – we were watching the movie downstairs and heard the hammers banging up above. When the Alhambra in San Francisco was de-twinned, and restored to its original condition, the curtain was not closed as well. I asked why to the Management of both. It was interesting of the responses I received. The Alhambra Manager replied, “closing the curtain went out with Mickey Mouse” – Alameda Management replied, “we have received a few complaints, I don’t know why they don’t”. As a former projectionist, and my father being a projectionist, I was trained young to the fact that you always use the curtains to provide the customer the best in their movie value. It is an art, and unfortunately this art is gone in a lot of houses, plagued by the responsibility of the projectionist having to run up to 14 projectors, and 10 in another house at the same time. I was in San Francisco yesterday and was allowed to walk around at the El Rey in San Francisco, which is Alameda’s sister theater, with the interior layout exactly the same, with a totally different motif, interesting layout of mirrors to reflect light though the lobby and different murals. Missing from the Alameda lobby was a mirror with a sunstar border, that was centered between the entrances Aisles of 2 and 4. The wall between these aisles were removed which was not part of the original condition of the theatre. The El Rey had this mirror also and it is still there. However, despite the curtain situation, the Alameda is a wonderful restoration, and well worth the trip.

e4kbb on July 26, 2008 at 4:17 am

I have yet to actually see a film in the big theater except for at the gala. But, saw Indiana Jones on one of the other screens— no problems except 3 minutes late starting. Saw Wall-E a couple weeks ago, no projection problems, and just returned from Mamma Mia and it was fine. So are these horrible problems just happening in the big theater or have I just been lucky?

JohnRice on July 25, 2008 at 4:51 pm

I think the poster means it’s not practical or financially possible to have a projectionist monitoring each auditorium at all times. Let’s face it. with platters it’s not necessary. The days of carbon arc lamps and films on 2000 foot (20 minute) reels which pretty much required constant attention are long gone except in a very few specialized theaters.

You do have to prepare the films on platters right, splice the reels together in frame for example, a procedure which the Alameda still seems to be unclear on the concept. You do have to check your focus and framing and sound volume when the show starts. It’s a good idea to re-check these things after the trailers at the beginning of the feature. When you are running the projectors in anywhere from 4 to 25 auditoriums you just can’t give each auditorium your constant attention, as much as that would be an ideal situation. By hiring competent personnel you can minimize your problems and audience complaints though. Again the Alameda seems to be unclear on that concept!

mcmikecroaro on July 25, 2008 at 1:02 pm

“Most small theatres can not afford a projectionist in the booth at all times.”

Millions of dollars are spent on a brand new 8 pleax and they can’t afford to have one projectionist in the booth at all times? I don’t buy it.


terrywade on July 25, 2008 at 12:51 pm

Wait till the article comes out in the regualar paper The East Bay Exprees about how things are so bad at the New Alameda. As of now only the limited people reading our great Cinema Treasures site can see what is going on. Now with the public and the many people that have had trouble with the Alameda going in a telling their horror stories maybe they will get some new people that know projection and management. The worst thing If there is a problem they give you a pass but when you try to use them they show in the paper no passes on all the films they are showing. When I go to use my pass (because the projector stopped 7 times in 20 minutes) If they don’t honor It I will call the police. The scam about passes will come to a end.

JohnRice on July 25, 2008 at 12:26 pm

Regarding cledo’s comment above:

And they wonder why sensible people are staying home more and more nowadays! Hey DVD or better yet high definition DVD or satellite service doesn’t look too shabby on a plasma TV. In my humble opinion it looks better in fact that the image in many multiplexes, especially multiplexes with incompetent projection personnel as well as incompetent management like the Alameda sadly appears to have. Don’t get me started on those cellphone, texting, talking airheads either! I was giving the Alameda the benefit of the doubt after their sloppy opening but my patience is now completely exhausted. Even though I just live a few miles away it just ain’t worth the drive!