Crest Theatre

811 Macdonald Avenue,
Richmond, CA 94801

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Additional Info

Previously operated by: Robert L. Lippert Theatres Inc.

Previous Names: Studio Theatre

Nearby Theaters

Crest Theatre

Converted from a former Safeway grocery store, the Studio Theatre opened at 811 Macdonald Avenue, right next to the Fox Theatre (formerly T & D Theatre/California Theatre and future United Artists Theatre) in downtown Richmond on June 13, 1942 with Lupe Velez in “Honolulu Lu” & Warren William in “Secrets of the Lone Wolf”. It was Robert L. Lippert’s second theatre in the Richmond area and like the first the Grand Theatre, was designed to serve Richmond’s rapidly growing wartime boom town population.

Like the neighboring State Theatre and future neighbor the Rio Theatre the Studio Theatre operated on a “grind house” policy during the war years with continuous showings from 10am until 5am the next morning. This was to appeal to the tens of thousands of shift workers at the nearby Kaiser Shipyards and other defence related industries in the Richmond area.

After the war ended the grind house policy continued but with more limited hours due to the closing of the shipyards. After a temporary closing and some minor remodeling the theatre’s name was changed to the Crest Theatre and re-opened on September 1, 1950 with Walt Disney’s animated feature “Cinderella” & Jerome Courtland in “The Palomino”. Due to Richmond’s depressed post war economy and the increasing popularity of television the Crest Theatre continued to struggle just as the Studio Theatre did during it’s final years and closed permanently on January 26, 1952. It was replaced by a Sav-Mor drug store, later demolished with the entire block (including the Fox/UA) and is now a Kaiser Hospital and Medical Facility Parking garage.

Contributed by John Rice

Recent comments (view all 4 comments)

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on November 5, 2014 at 12:38 pm

This letter from Robert L. Lippert to the trade journal Motion Picture Herald was published in the magazine’s issue of September 12, 1942:

“On February 14th, I completed the Grand theatre, Richmond, 690 seats, built of brick and Class B construction, in 91 days.

“On May 21st I leased a grocery store in the heart of Richmond and in exactly three weeks opened this as a theatre; seats 428, operates 24 hours a day. Name, The Studio.

“June 12th, I commenced remodeling of the old Point theatre at Richmond and installed a balcony to seat 100 and renovated the house from front to back. Total seats, 450. Opened this theatre August 15th.

“The Studio and Point theatres were completed under the $5,000 limitation set by the War Production Board.

“Commenced work five weeks ago on the Times theatre, Richmond, seating 575, and will open this house on September Nth. A priority was granted on this project. This was formerly the Nash Automobile Agency.

“On July 5th, commenced work in Vallejo on the former Studebaker Automobile Agency and completed this in four weeks. It seats 664.

“From there I took over the old library building in Alameda and transformed this into a theatre. I opened this last week. It seats 299. The name of this theatre is the Times.”

MichaelKilgore on October 9, 2021 at 1:51 pm

Motion Picture Herald, Jan. 26, 1952: “Robert Lippert’s Crest, Richmond, has closed.”

rivest266 on March 4, 2024 at 6:58 pm

Reopened as Crest on September 1st, 1950. Grand opening ad posted.

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