Monday, August 18, 2014

Corona del Mar-Let's go to the movies at the Port Theater

The Port Theater on Coast Highway used to be a movie theater where you could bring your own food and tickets cost $1.49.  Imagine $1.49 to go to a movie!

In 1949, Ted and Peggy Jones of the Western amusement Company opened the Port Theater.  In 1950, the theater featured "The Greatest show on Earth" and there was a live elephant on stage.  From 1975-1985, the theater featured French, Italian and Japanese films.  In 1985, a couple got married on stage.  From 1989 to 1998, the building was an Art House featuring Indie documentaries and foreign films.

Unfortunately, in 1998, Port Theater close due to a combination of newly built multiplexes and a lack of public parking.  The Port remained closed for over a decade.  It went through multiple owners and was nearly remodeled into office space and shops.  Local residents formed a group called "Save the Port" in an attempt to raise money and reopen the Port, but the lack of profit and financial cost of renovating the worn down theater were too high for most investors to consider.  In 2007, the former owner obtained a permit for demolition.  Fortunately, the demolition was cancelled, wen an investor saw the potential and assumed the responsibility of reviving its name and transformed the building into a modern day theater unlike any other.

The theater reopened in 2012.

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