Wednesday, September 24, 2008

A Curious Case

I've been a Pasadena resident for almost three years. Before that I lived in Van Nuys for two years and before that I lived in Altadena for a couple of years. (Nothing personal, but my stint in Van Nuys made me eager to get back over to this part of the world ASAP.) I have a total of five years' experience living in the Pasadena/Altadena area. It isn't much, in the grand scheme.

So I love hearing from someone like Case, who recently added comments to my April 14th post about the faded Cinema 21 movie palace on Washington Blvd. :

"I lived in a House right behind this theater back in the 70's," says Case. "The back door exits were in a Deep stairwell that us kids used to drop water balloons into from our yard. Sometime a frisbee or ball would go into the dimly lit well, and we would have to be brave to retrieve it, as we were sure it was Haunted !"

Here's a shot of that stairwell for you, Case.

"The inside of the Theatre was Art Deco," Case continues, "with lots of Gold Gilting on Purple Velvet. Paisleys were everywhere ! I hear my 1920's Bungalo homestead was torn down about 10 years ago. Anything go up in it's place ? There used to be an old septic tank in the backyard that made a Beautiful Lemmon tree put out football sized fruit. Or at least it seemed that way to a 10 year old !"

As a little bonus today I have one shot of the lot behind the building. The stairwell pictured above is directly beneath the fire escapes seen in the photo below. If Case could drop water balloons into the stairwell from his back yard, it looks like nothing's gone up to replace that 1920's bungalow. Seems a shame. Why tear something down only to leave a vacant lot?

Now I wonder: what's all that lumber lying around by the stairwell?

15 comments:

Dina said...

You're such a detective, Petrea!

Laurie said...

This is such a melancholy image. The angles are broken up by that bright blast of light next to that murky shadow and all the textures of the bricks and wood give so much visual interest. Great shot, Miss P. Pretty... and sad.

keith said...

Interesting post and photo. Haunted or not, I don't think I'd wander around back there at night.

pasadenaadjacent.com said...

I like a detective story. Wouldn't it be grand to see pictures from the interior of the theater? Heck, maybe you could get Case to send you a jpg of the house he lived in.

Katie said...

Great story and photos. It does look like a good spot for some water balloon fun.

Bernie K. said...

I'm with PasAdj.Com—see if Case has an old photo & maybe do a side-by-side.

An "I Used to Live There" feature …

Trish said...

Am guessing that the lumber is from an attempt to gut the inside of the theater at some point. Maybe a fire and that is what the firefighters did to haul out burning material and it has been left for a while. Dunno. One of the few things I cannot answer for you about the area.

If you want to know what the jumping Fair Oaks Ave & Colorado Blvd used to look like 20-25+ years ago, take a gander around this theater and area. But am guessing it is not getting Redevelopment monies and an infusion of businesses wanted to put their signs up and open shop.

Christie said...

It's always sad when your house as a child has changed. I haven't been back to mine for a while, but it is interesting to see the trees we planted so long ago larger than the house!

Ms M said...

I like how you combined your photos with Case's story. And it is a shame someone tore down the bungalow and left a vacant lot.

Petrea said...

Thank you all for your contributions. Cinema 21 is a wrecked old relic. I'd love to get a peek inside but I'd want to be wearing high boots, as I'm sure it's infested with something.

Haven't heard from Case yet, so I don't know if I'll be getting that jpg.

It's interesting to think of Old Town once looking like this, Trish. I love your fountain of information. Thanks. Old Town is so gorgeous now. It would be nice to see Cinema 21 gussied up.

Christie makes an interesting point about one's childhood home. It's never the same, of course, but to have it torn down completely must be quite a blow.

USelaine said...

I should come down and visit my childhood home in Temple City again. The last time I was down there (to visit the Huntington), I stayed at a Best Western motel east of Pasadena, in a pretty bleak stretch of street. It was 2001, and the coolest thing, the saving grace, was that modern art museum stunt that was on the billboards all over town. They made them into giant art object labels! And there just happened to be one of these billboards right next to my motel, with the classic layout of title, "artist", approximate date of the "work", and the materials used (stucco, polyester, glass, etc.). There was a space-agey looking public utility building on a forked street that had one as well. I thought they were hilarious.

Oops. I can go on and on, can't I.

Miss Havisham said...

Pip lived in the bungalow court next to the empty lot. He was robbed twice. The last time the thieves managed to lift a huge safe (size of a refrigerator) out of the bungalow in broad daylight. No one saw a thing.

Petrea said...

Elaine, you go on as long as you want to. Your contributions are always well-thought and welcome. Come on down!

Miss Havisham, that bungalow court is well-hidden. A photo is in order.

Case said...

Boy Howdy ! Lookit the size of that Lemmon Tree Now ! Big as a house, I think.... Ahhhh, the wonders of fertilizer ! Thanks Petrea. I know the lot wasen't the focus of your photo shoot, but it's so nice of you to post what you had. The Bungalo, ( What a funny word ^_^ sounds like one should be diving off the pourch with rubber tied arround one's ankels ! ) was sold to a Developer who I heard was intending to use the property as Parking. Talk about your Joni Mitchell flashback... To me it was Paradise ! Aparently, their plans fell thru like so many plans for the neighborhood, but at least they stopped short of dozing the Tree. Now I know there's something to visit again someday... Hey Howya doin' Mrs Lemmon ?

Petrea said...

Hi Case! I'm glad you saw the post. Yeah, I took that shot of the lot a while back, didn't know about your house then. If you read the other comments you know people are interested to see what your house looked like. Do you have a photo of it that you'd like me to post? If you could scan and send one, I think people would really like to see it. If not, it's nice to imagine.

I think there was a development plan, but it got stalled. I'm not sure what happened, but folks around here still hope someone will come along and rescue that old theatre. Maybe the lot will get gussied up in the process.