175 N. Vermont Avenue,
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A great small town theater which opened in February 1971 in a conversion of a former post office.
A former Bell and Howell projector engineer had a wacky idea to build a 35mm projector which could run daily without a projectionist. The engineer succeeded with his idea, but nobody wanted to try out the concept—so, he built his own theater–the Plaza Theater in Glendora, and used it as a show room for his invention with mix results.
The theater could be run by one person with no problem. The box-office, snack-bar, and the projector-started button was all in the same location. A great cost cutting idea. The projector system worked with little silver cues at the head and tail of the feature. These cues would know where to stop the print, turn on or off the lamp house, changeovers (if needed) and what direction the film should travel in. If a film took 100 minutes to screen, it would take 100 minutes to rewind. The projector system didn’t take off as the engineer was hopping for, but the theater did very well for the first few years.
By the early-1980’s, video started to kill the second run single screen houses, and by 1983 the Plaza Theater closed it’s doors. Until 1992, the owners always planned to re-open the complex, but never did. In 1995 the Plaza Theater was gutted for an office building. By 2018 it operates as a thrift store.
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Here is an article from the LA Times dated 8/2/70:
Glendora OKs Parking Plan for Theater
For the past three years, local residents have had to drive out of town to see a movie, but a new theater seems assured by City Council action. The Council has approved a parking variance for a 374-seat theater in the former post office building at 175 N. Vermont Avenue.
The theater, being developed by George Reid of Glendora and William Spencer of Montebello, both projection equipment engineers, will be completely renovated as a contemporary theater.
“The last theater in town was built in 1923 and closed in 1967”, according to Robert Dadaian, planning director. The old 800-seat theater was demolished two years ago to make way for a supermarket. The former post office building, built in 1956, was vacated in 1968 when a new facility was put into use at Glendora and Ada Avenues.
The Plaza Theatre’s building now houses a thrift shop. It shows no indications of having ever been a theater or, for that matter, a post office. It’s an odd location for a movie house, the back street on which it is situated being mostly residential.
The first ad for this theatre appeared on February 15th, 1971.
I lived in Glendora from the age of 3 through 13. I’m fairly certain I went to this theater twice. Once to see one of those Sun Classics documentaries on Bigfoot and the Loch Ness Monster, and the other time to see Logan’s Run, if I’m not mistaken. Even at that young age, though, I thought its location was a bit strange.
Grew up there. Great place to cool off during the hot dirty smoggy days of summer. Owner ran special matinee prices for 25 cents for a few summers. Watched a ton of flicks there.
They couldn’t afford to bring in the big blockbusters, Star Wars, etc. Many many fond memories…