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Home» Oakland » Grand Lake Theater

Grand Lake Theater


Grand Lake Theater is one of the most lively and attractive tourist attractions in Oakland, California. It is a famous movie palace (picture palace) situated at 3200 Grand Avenue and Lake Park Avenue in the Grand Lake area of Oakland, California in the US.

History of Grand Lake Theater

The Grand Lake Theater was created in the form of a single hall Theater for West Coast Theaters, Inc. by the notable Reid Brothers. Since its inauguration on 26th March, 1926, it screened silent and vaudeville movies. However, with the advent of talkies, Grand Lake Theater started to screen movies with sound. The Theater became a constituent of the Fox Theaters chain in 1928 and changed hands 5 times till 1980.

Grand Lake Theater was taken over by Allen Michaan of Renaissance Rialto, Inc. in 1980.

The outside of the Grand Lake Theater is outdone by a huge lighted rooftop glow-sign. Vases and neoclassical artificial pillars draw the principal indoor area and the roof is decorated by a crystal pendant in the foyer and conventional murals in the hall.

Following its acquisition, Renaissance Rialto, Inc. outlaid $3.5 million for restoration and extension. The gallery of the hall was divided into a 2nd hall. The adjoining storefronts were bought and joined with the Theater. These storefronts were switched into a little Egyptian Revival pattern hall and a miniature Moorish pattern hall. Following the extensions performed in the 1980s, the Grand Lake Theater had 4 screens altogether and the seating capacity was 1619. The central hall is also fitted with a Mighty Wurlitzer reed organ veiled under the ground. The famous organ is used for a short musical program ahead of the movie.

The Roof Sign of Grand Lake Theater

The glow sign on top of the Theater is the biggest revolving contact sign towards the west of the Mississippi river. The width of the roof sign is 72 feet or 21.95 m and the length is 52 feet or 15.85 m. and comprises 2,800 colorful lights. This was the idea of Theodore Wetteland. The firing episode is regulated by an equipment similar to a musical box. The glow sign is usually illuminated on Friday and Saturday, from twilight till the beginning of the final show of the night.

Famous Customers of Grand Lake Theater

Listed below are the famous customers of Grand Lake Theater:

  • Barbara Lee (Congresswoman)
  • Reverend Jesse Jackson
  • George Lucas (Filmmaker)
  • Cynthia McKinney (Congresswoman)
  • Danny Glover (Actor)
  • Steven Spielberg (Filmmaker)
  • Tom Hanks (Actor)
  • Sean Penn (Actor)
  • Greg Proops (Comedian)
  • Greg Palast (Investigative Journalist)
  • Dylan Avery (Director)

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