On December 13, THS West Director, Gary Parks, attended the 75th Anniversary Celebration of the Cerrito Theatre, El Cerrito, CA. Attendees of the 2008 Conclave will remember this theatre, which had slept-away several decades as a furniture warehouse, but reopened as a theatre in 2006, with the original interior restored and the vanished sign tower replicated.
Opening the night was the band Any Reason, playing songs from the 1930s (see second photo). While audience members enjoyed food and beverages from the theatre’s restaurant at their seats, Melissa Hatheway, representing new operator, Rialto Cinemas, welcomed the crowd. Next, Friends of the Cerrito Chairman, David Weinstein, expressed his thanks to the many people who made the saving and reopening of the theatre possible, and gave a spirited capsule history of the theatre and its revival. He noted that plans for a theatre in El Cerrito were first formulated in 1923, but nothing came of these plans until the late 1930s.
Audience members were encouraged to dress in period attire, and a short costume contest was held onstage.
The main feature of the program was a screening of Frank Capra’s Academy Award-winning “You Can’t Take It With You,” starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, and Lionel Barrymore. The film looked perfectly handsome, framed by the original Greco-Deco murals by Heinsbergen, their metallic gold and silver accents flickering in the reflected light from the screen.
A fine time was had by all.