Alvarado Theater

31115 Union City Boulevard,
Union City, CA 94587

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Alvarado Theater

This was Union City’s first theater. It opened in April 1936 in the Alvarado district of Union City. It showed Spanish-language films until it closed in the late-1960’s. It was demolished in the early-1970’s as Union City Boulevard was widened.

Contributed by scottfavareille

Recent comments (view all 8 comments)

GaryParks on October 16, 2004 at 2:53 pm

My friend, theatre organist Bill Langford recalled that when he was organist at Ye Olde Pizza Joynt in nearby San Lorenzo in the Sixties, he met the wife of the then owner of the Alvarado. She stated that her husband was “a theatre owner.” The emphatic way she made this remark caused Bill to think that her husband must be the owner of a whole chain. At some point later, Bill found out that this “theatre owner” simply owned the flea-bitten little Alvarado, and had to just shake his head. Shortly thereafter, the theatre was demolished, as stated above. I have never seen a picture of it, but Bill told me it had some kind of deco marquee and looked typical for a small town. Union city was the uniting of the unincorporated communities of Decoto and Alvarado. Decoto had its own theatre as well, a tiny movie house called the Decoto, which still stands and has long been a church.

AndyT on October 16, 2004 at 3:10 pm

An oldie, but not much of a goodie. I had hesitated to post this theater because I was unsure of the address —– at the time there was no Union City Blvd., and of course no Union City. I remember the theater well because during my childhood there were no freeways south of Hayward, so this was on the route to Newark and part of Fremont. The Alvarado Theater wasn’t much —– I remember a boxy white-washed building on which the marquee wasn’t ever changed —– it simply read “Spanish Movies”. This was during the late 50s. I remembered thinking then that I never saw it open, but I’m sure that’s because we always made the drive during the day.

robertcampbell on April 15, 2005 at 12:30 am

I went to the Alvarado theatre just once when i was little. It had a green neon sign that said Alvarado and that was it. To know the movies you had to read the plasterboards outside. It was showing a mixture of mexican and american films. It had a aisle going down the center and seats on both sides. I just stared at the clock in the corner alongside the screen, as the movie was in spanish and i didn’t understand what they were saying! No snack bar, just machines. It was filthy inside and had cockroaches. Lots of laborers in there sleeping and mamas breasfeading their kids. Place was always packed.

scottfavareille on July 31, 2006 at 3:10 pm

A recent book on Mexican Movies in the United States mentions this theater in an appendix—It showed that it seated 150.

kencmcintyre on December 31, 2009 at 6:40 pm

The theater can be glimpsed in this photo:

janey on July 29, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Didn’t the Alvarado also show Portuguese language films in the late 1940s or early 50s?

brucebennerrjr on March 28, 2013 at 11:27 pm

The alvarado was owned by elesaio naharro a spanird wow cock roaches flea ridden at garry milly she was not maried to elesaio but to his brother corky and never owned the alvarado it was elesaio and kay naharro id know he was my uncle my grand mother evelyn and her sister marry helped as well as my grand father joe sanchez after my uncle lee would have famous actors to promote the movies lee was the richest man in union city at one time after his passing things went to hell so hope you enjoied the history lesson

Joe Vogel
Joe Vogel on September 21, 2017 at 7:56 pm

The May 6, 1936, issue of Motion Picture Herald ran a brief item saying “Joe Priego has opened the Alavarado [sic] theatre at Alvarado, Calif.”

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