Lights, Camera, Action – in Coronado!

Marilyn Monroe on Coronado Beach during filming of "Some Like It Hot" (1958).

I love the movies! From indie flicks to blockbusters (sci-fi!), there’s magic in motion pictures and it’s one of my favorite weekend escapes.

Coronado is no stranger to the silver screen. When folks think of movies in the “crown city,” glitzy Hollywood images of Marilyn Monroe basking on the beach by the Hotel del Coronado in “Some Like it Hot” usually come to mind.

But a little known cinematic gem is getting ready for its close-up: the Village Theatre on Orange Avenue. Built in 1947 (coincidentally, the same year Marilyn starred in one of her earliest roles as Evie in the film “Dangerous Years”), the Village Theatre is a striking Art Deco-style, single-screen sensation – one of only three such movie houses in San Diego County (another being La Paloma in Encinitas where I have, admittedly, seen “Rocky Horror Picture Show” – sans costume).

The theater has been closed since 2000 and is looking the worse for wear. However, an exciting sequel is in the works this winter… moviegoers are in for a treat bigger than a tub of buttered popcorn with Raisinets!

A major renovation is underway by Five Star Theatres (best known for bringing back Hollywood’s El Capitan Theatre to its former glory) which will transform the historic site into a three-screen cinema, including a main auditorium with 200 seats and two rooms with 50 seats each. Cost: about $3 million. It’ll include a sparkling new façade – keeping its towering illuminated “Village” sign – a retro-modern Art Deco design throughout and a brand new ticket booth on the front sidewalk. Completion is slated for March 2010.

Though it’ll retain that ol’ fashioned feel from yesteryear, complementing the classic charm of Coronado’s main street, Village Theatre has its sights set well into the future. Five Star plans to run the theater until 2026. Now that’s what I call a happy Hollywood ending!

I’ll keep everyone posted with pics including, hopefully, an exclusive look at how things are progressing inside.

This entry was posted in Arts & Culture, Attractions, Family Vacations, Insider Tips, Outdoor Adventures and tagged , , , , , , , , , , by Robert Arends. Bookmark the permalink.
Robert Arends

About Robert Arends

I’m a native San Diegan and man of many hats: PR, roadside America traveler/backyard tourist (especially our mountains and Anza-Borrego Desert), photographer (motto: capture the moment!), music fan, sci-fi buff, tiki collector and constant gardener. What would you do on your ideal San Diego day? I would spend the day snorkeling in La Jolla Cove. It’s like swimming in a huge aquarium – Garibaldi fish, lobsters, sea lions, oh my! If you were invisible, where would you go? I’d go surfing in Coronado. I’ve never surfed, but have always wanted to. If I was invisible no one would see me fall (again and again! – LOL). What is your favorite San Diego outdoor activity? Walking the Prado in Balboa Park; feels like I’m in Spain. The architecture is amazing!  I also enjoy hiking Anza-Borrego Desert State Park to see the annual wildflowers and exploring the tidepools at Cabrillo National Monument. Do you prefer burgers and beer or linguine and red wine? Linguine and red wine (wine list, please!), with tableside views of San Diego Bay. Latest music purchases for my iPod/MP3 player are… Magic Man: Paris, Bear Hands: Giants, Capital Cities: I Sold My Bed, But Not My Stereo, Man Man: Head On, London Grammar: Nightcall (Freemasons Remix). Follow Robert on Twitter @groovestar

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